Seattle bicycle legend Val Kleitz succumbs to cancer at age 51

by Eric Shalit on August 11, 2011

Val Kleitz leads the way on the 2010 Buy Nothing Day Cargo Bike Ride.

This sad news just in from Aaron Goss of Aaron’s Bike Repair.

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness in my heart that I bring this news to you.

My dear, dear friend Val Kleitz died yesterday, August 10th, 2011.
He was 51 years young. He was born on June 8th, 1960. He worked for years on Sundays at my shop and turned one corner into The Bikesmith, his old shop in Wallingford.

He died of cancer. As many of you know, he was battling it. The end was peaceful for him. He was surrounded by his family.

There will be a wake soon and I will let ya’ll know time and place.

I am dedicating the next (and all following) Cargo Bike Ride(s) to Val. He and I started the first Seattle Cargo Bike ride during Bike Summer 2005. In that time Val only missed a couple of rides and most just recently. Val loved the utility aspect of bicycles.

The next Cargo Ride is this Labor Day, September 5th. Meet at 20/20 Cycles on Capitol Hill.

Aaron Goss
President & Master Mechanic
Aaron’s Bicycle Repair, Inc.
6527 California Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98136

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Messmann August 12, 2011 at 12:50 am

True legend indeed. He will be missed. My thoughts go out to his loved ones.


daniel August 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

Val was the best. He will be sorely missed. Watch my interview with Seattle cargo bike pioneer Val Kleitz as he gives his first person account of cargo biking and his own highly customized bicycle.


kfc August 15, 2011 at 7:44 am

will miss Val…work with him for a number years at sbs.feel lucky to have meet Val.Val share stories with me and his pictures of the cargo rides.Val could always make me think then make me laugh so hard will bring tears to my eyes.


Bikesmith's Mom August 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm

A rebuttal to the “bio”… as follows:
Being the Chief Bitch of that dog pack, I must make a rebuttal: Val was brought up on the run from Pennsylvania to CO, CA, NY, UT, CA (where at age 6 he countered a neighbor kid’s exclamation,”You have a naked lady on your wall,” by replying, “That’s not a lady, it’s just the
outline.”), MN, TX, MN, TX, NM, as his father pursued a PhD and various jobs. His arrival in Seattle has been duly noted by Seattle bicyclists.

Thank you all for your wonderful memories and beautiful words.


Dan Towle August 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm

I will always remember the Tarzan yell that Val would let out on Chilly Hilly when he and I rode mechanical support for the ride. He was a very strong rider, and an even stronger personality. I’m sorry that he passed so young, but glad to have known, and worked with him.


Robin Young September 11, 2011 at 2:49 am

Today, word reached me that Val has ridden on ahead of us.
Yet it wouldn’t be the first time… You always did move quicker than I could.

My dearest friend, housemate and traveling companion for many years – way back when rocks were soft… You taught me to diagnose and repair the tanks we both had a weakness for, wrestle wayward burros, weld cool metal things, appreciate punk music, pogo, and generally get into and (more importantly) get out of mischief.
How was it that “I” always got blamed for corrupting You ?!?

My fellow electicist, packrat extraordinaire, word junkie, film and music buff, road tripper and all around Wonderful friend – I have long missed the times we had together…
And now – sigh – I must miss your snarky self too.

Well ~ Don’t let ‘them’ get you. Kick ’em in the head !
Ride well Dearheart and ENJOY.

My Love and warm healing thoughts to your family and friends.


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