Saying Goodbye to Owen

Saying Goodbye to Owen

Otis Guy regales the audience.

We said goodbye to Owen Mulholland this past weekend. Eighty or so people gathered at the Marin Museum of Bicycling to speak on Owen’s behalf and tell stories about our departed friend. Many were origination stories, how they came to meet a person who each credited with changing the course of their lives.

The room overflowed with cycling royalty. John Wilcockson flew in from Boulder. Maynard Hershon made the trip as well. Road luminaries like Emile “Flip” Waldteufel, Lindsay Crawford, Peter Johnson and Tom Hardy showed up. Joe Breeze, Otis Guy, Charlie Cunningham, Jacquie Phelan and a host of mountain bike pioneers came to pay their respects.

Mulholland’s reach in the lives of those he knew was tremendous, of such depth his absence feels like a wound not yet sutured shut. Person after person stood up to talk about what a positive, sunny presence he was in their lives, not to mention what a devoted rider he was. I never knew that during his first bout of cancer, following the removal of a grapefuit-sized tumor from his chest, he rode the thirty or so miles to and from chemotherapy several times a week. Hell, even Lance Armstrong wasn’t that tough.

IMG_6601Joe Breeze sharing a remembrance.

His ability to celebrate others is what allowed his personal touch to reach so far. Without him, I suspect that many more years would have passed before American riders would begin venturing to Europe to find their fortune. Owen was among the first to bring the stories of Europe to American audiences, and to promote how good Americans were to audiences abroad.

I was especially touched by what his friend Franklin Blackford shared. During Owen’s waning days, he went to visit, and poured his heart out, telling Owen just what he meant in his life, though he wasn’t entire sure that Owen was awake for much of it. Suddenly, Owen lifted his head, fixed him with an intent gaze and said, “Franklin, you have oceans of resources; you’ll be fine.”

We’ll all be fine, but we’ll never stop missing him.

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  1. Austin McInerny

    Thank you for sharing this story. Owen is emblematic of the deeper value of cycling; to bring communities together to help each individual become all that they hope to be and to support those in their peloton during the ups and downs of life.

  2. John Mulholland

    Thank you John Gallagher for forwarding this wonderful description of Owen’s farewell memorial. I am so very grateful that Otis, Joe, and the rest of the Marin Museum of Bicycling so generously offered the museum for Owen’s good-bye.

  3. Jenny Fire

    I have very fond memories of Owen encouraging me while both of us did an organized ride in Marin County (Marin Century?) back in the mid-70s. I was just a punk 15 year-old, but I’ll always remember his good words (and I’m still riding).

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