Farewell to CABO Director Ruth Barnes

The article below is from the November 2008 bulletin of the CABO member club the Los Angeles Wheelmen, the “Gooseneck” by Laverne Boethling.

At the end of the article Laverne states that she/we appreciate all Ruth did for their club… I will add that Ruth served more than the LA Wheelmen with her dedicated, outspoken and well informed advocacy to all California bicyclists through her participation with CABO.

Ruth’s mother, Mary Ellen Barnes sent a note to CABO in October, “Sorry to tell you that Ruth Barnes died Sept 26. She lost her battle with cancer. She went very Peacefully —— She will be missed. She was a great daughter.”
Ride a few miles with Ruth in mind.

Jim Baross
CABO President
Friend of Ruth


Farewell to Ruth Barnes

On September 26, 2008, the Los Angeles Wheelmen lost one of its most special members. Ruth Barnes lost her battle with lung cancer at the age of 62.

We first met Ruth on a Wheelmen ride in 1971. From the beginning, it was obvious that Ruth was an exceptional rider and held her own with the very best of the men riders. She was always in the lead and was incredibly competitive. She wanted to be the best women rider around. Those were the days when women were never taken seriously. Ruth would prove everyone wrong.

Oddly enough, in spite of our age differences – she was only 25 and we were 41 and 44 respectively – we became friends. Our daughter Julie was only 14 but she looked up to Ruth and was a strong rider herself. We rode together – at least out of the parking lot – Ha ha! Other times Ruth rode with us for the companionship. She never missed a ride. She participated in many overnight group rides with the club – especially the fun weekends to Ohai. Just ask any old time member about those special weekends.

Ruth served as treasurer of our club in 1977 and 1981 and was president in 1986 and 1987 and served well. She was awarded the Jack Flynn Award in 1987. Among her many other contributions to cycling and our club, Ruth helped beginner riders by organizing and leading many AYH rides, leading dozens of camping rides to Emma Woods State Beach Park and created many of our Orange County routes, still ridden today.

Ruth was the club’s CABO representative for years and years. CABO is the California Association of Bicycle Organizations and is active in Sacramento and local government to foster more bike paths, more laws to protect us on the road and to clarify rules for us as cyclists. She did a great job! Her letters to the editor appeared often in the Los Angeles Times and local papers.
Ruth never missed the Great Western Bicycle Rally and until her illness, she had attended 35 Rallys in a row. Quite a record!

Ruth had returned to college and earned her bachelors and masters degrees in business. Unfortunately, she was unable to return to work as she was soon diagnosed with lung cancer.

We think that in terms of Ruth’s cycling life, her greatest achievement was the fact that Ruth was the first woman to ride our club’s Grand Tour Triple Century. In 1973 she achieved the unthinkable and showed everyone that women are strong and can do whatever they set their minds to. Thank you Ruth. (Ruth completed a total of 7 Grand Tours including 3 triples and was Grand tour Chairman one year.)

Rest well old friend and know that we appreciate all you did for cycling and for our club.

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About Jim Baross

I bicycled across the USA from East to West in 1976 leading groups of bicyclists for the “Bikecentennial ’76 “event and again in 2007 riding this time from West to East with my two sons. I was first certified as an Effective Cycling Instructor in 1986 by the League of American Bicyclist and have been an active League Cycling Instructor for the League since then. In 2002 I gained acceptance as a Cycling Instructor Trainer and since then have conducted 11 training seminars for certification of League Cycling Instructors held in San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sacramento, Morgan Hill, Fairfax, and Palo Alto. I completed the San Diego Police Bicycle Skills Menu Course in 2003 and I have been an expert witness for bicycling crash incidents. I presently serve on several bicycling advisory committees and advocacy organizations. Chair - Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Working Group for the San Diego regional association of governments since 1995 Vice Chair - California Bicycle Advisory Committee for the State Dept of Transportation, a member since 1992 President - California Association of Bicycling Organizations Board member - California Bicycle Coalition California State Ambassador – League of American Bicyclists Co-Chair California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Challenge Area 13, Improving Bicycling Safety Conferences, seminars and similar events at which I have attended and presented bicycling safety information and training include the following: Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety, Summit “What to do about all these bicycles in Traffic”, 2009 ProWalk-ProBike Conference, Seattle WA., 2008 Attendee/Speaker, League of American Bicyclists, Bike Education Conference, Wisconsin and New York City, 2002 & 2007 Velo Mondial, Amsterdam. 2000 Speaker/Presenter, Calif. Office of Traffic Safety’s Summit “A Vision for Roads to Traffic Safety”, 2000 Speaker Autovation conference, San Diego 2005 Chair, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan, #13 - Improve Bicycling Safety Presenter, California Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit, 2008 Anaheim Attendee, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Summit, Washington, DC, 2006 & 2008 Presenter, Walk/Bike California Conferences, Oakland 2003, Ventura 2005, Davis 2007 Speaker, Making the Connection International Trails and Greenways Conference Presenter, Safety N Kids, Conference, “Children Learn Best by Good Examples From Those They Trust”, 2006 Speaker, ITE Conference 2006 Dana Point, Calif., “Engineering for Bicycling, From a Bicyclists Point of View” Exhibitor/Speaker, Lifesavers, National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, 2004 References familiar with my bicycling background and experience include: Kathy Keehan, Exec Director San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Ph: 858-487-6063, Email: execdir@sdcbc.org Stephan Vance, Chair Calif. Bicycle Coalition and SANDAG Senior Planner, Ph: 619-595-5324, Email: sva@sandag.org Ken McGuire, Chief Bicycle Facilities Unit, California Dept of Transportation, Ph: 916-653-2750, Email: ken_mcguire@dot.ca.gov Preston Tyree, Director of Education, League of American Bicyclists, 1612 K St., NW, #800, Washington, DC 20006, Ph: 202-822-1333 x 227, Email: Preston@bikeleague.org