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.
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.