UPDATE: Joe is conscious and alert. His family is with him.
CORRECTION: Hottie, modesty aside, says that he did not give chest compressions, despite other reports to the contrary.
On Saturday, a friend of mine experienced cardiac arrest while on a group ride. I got a text about it from RKP contributor Hottie yesterday while I was sitting in an airport. Hottie is all data; he’s rarely met an adjective he likes and he detests descriptions that might be characterized as heroic, so I had to find out from another friend that Hottie was one of the guys who offered assistance when they couldn’t find a pulse.
That friend who suffered the heart attack is well known to RKP readers; well, his work is, anyway. Joe Yule is to be credited for the RKP logo. He’s also responsible for the Roubaix, Suffer and Chaos shirts, and of course, the RKP kit. I’ve known Joe nearly 20 years and I’ve ridden enough miles with him to circle the globe at least twice. Joe’s been a cyclist since before the age of LeMond, before it was (nearly) cool to be a cyclist. I’ve worked with him a number of times, from web sites to branding for a travel company.
While I’m beyond pleased with his work for RKP and think he ought to be famous for what he did with us, he’s much better known for his work for Slipstream Sports (currently known as Team Education First/Drapac). He won the contest Jonathan Vaughters held to design the argyle jersey for them even before Garmin became a sponsor. He’s been the designer of the team kit, the bus wraps, the web site and even the sponsorship proposals.
And if you’ve done the Belgian Waffle Ride, the entire look of that event owes to Mr. Yule. From the logo to the jerseys and all the collateral material, that’s been Joe channeling Michael Marckx’ inner muse and making magic.
I’ve worked with a number of graphic designers over the years. Some of them have been very good. Some have been amazing. But there’s only one Joe Yule.
One of the delights of riding with Joe was the way he would post graphics on Facebook that would set the agenda for the rides we did on the weekend. I suspect those who had their names tagged to the photo experienced the same gratification I felt. It was an implicit, “Your presence is requested.” And that is no small matter. While he is a quirky guy, he doesn’t suffer asses and the social contract is an important part of any group ride he does.
Yule’s manner is direct, to the point, and yet exceedingly diplomatic. These little works reflect that, written in a kind of code. See enough of them and they translate themselves.
Those little invites are at turns playful, ambitious and sly. I saved them because of how cool they are.
When Hottie’s text came through and I saw Joe’s name, I was afraid he’d had a bad crash. I was half right. He’d crashed, but only because the heart attack caused him to pass out. It felt like all the air and blood left my chest as I read.
When I chose to leave Los Angeles, I was aware that I was giving up the active part of a number of friendships. We all know that while Facebook can be handy, it’s not the same as rolling to a coffee shop with friends, or suffering through 80-odd miles on the hardest roads within a couple-hours ride of home. Joe was a big part of that. He’s seen me at my best, as well as my worst, both as an athlete and as a person. The mark of a true friend is that they take each turn in stride.
Back in the early 2000s a group of some 4000 followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi went to Washington, D.C. to practice transcendental meditation with a concerted and deliberate goal. In a study documented by the N.Y. Times, the crime rate in Washington dropped by roughly 23 percent during the time they meditated. My point in bringing this up is to point out how surprising the world can be. There are many experiences in which we’ve invested great energy, but we can’t explain how or why they work or give meaning to our lives.
No matter what you believe, as a reader of RKP, Yule’s work has touched your life in some way. Let’s all do him a solid and give him something back. Whether it’s prayer, meditation or just pulling on that jersey, lend him a bit of your energy. He could use it right now.
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