About Pete

“Sir! Have a rainbow, fluffy, unicorn shitting ice cream cupcake day. Be nice to your body. I enjoy pedaling a bicycle near you.”

That was a random message I received from Pete earlier this year after I had broken my ankle and learned I would be in a boot and off the bike for at least six weeks. I was despondent. I don’t know that I had told many people yet. Still, he had heard through the grapevine, took time out of his day, and cheered me up in an instant.

Pete Beers had that way. He was kind to everyone he met. He often signed off social media for the day with a random musing and the phrase “know that you are loved.”

Know that you are loved.

That’s a powerful feeling, knowing you are loved. We all need love, and Pete spread it so effortlessly. To say that he was a role model for so many grown men and women would be easy to dismiss as so much puffy exaggeration, but who among us has not uttered, or at least heard the words “I tried channeling my inner Dirt” (fittingly, he even had the coolest nickname).

Channeling your inner Dirt means being kind, even in the face of unkindness. Having empathy for those whose own might be in short supply. It means having the patience to defuse conflicts that would be much more viscerally satisfying had you exploded and lost your temper. That was Dirt. That was Pete.

Pete and Bilsko and me and another stupid adventure.

I know I have told the story countless times about how my first bike commute in 2011 changed my life. I got healthy. I met a community full of incredible people. And no one I met did more to shape who I became than Pete. He welcomed me on my first group ride and answered all my dumb questions, like “Hi should I cross this double yellow line here into oncoming traffic?” He taught me about gravel rides, showing me all the best routes and where to eat and drink afterward. I learned that long, stupid rides were the best rides. Stuff like riding your bike around downtown DC all night until dawn, or taking the train to Cumberland and riding the bumpity towpath back to DC, all 184.5 miles, in one shot. And contrary to conventional wisdom, hills were to be embraced, not avoided, because riding hills with friends become some of your best bike memories.

Every time Pete fixed my bike he left a Hello Kitty sticker somewhere on it for me to find. One time he put training wheels on my bike for me after the 4th time I crashed. I followed him on countless coffee rides. I rode with him on too many trips out to Loudoun County. I leaned on him big time for ride advice. If he hadn’t showed me big stupid rides were possible, I never would have Everested, or attempted Big Savage, or survived the GAP/C&O 24 hour ride. He was my mentor, he was my ride partner, he was my friend.

Pete Beers was doing what he loved when he left us. That’s no comfort for me, because none of us are ready for him to be gone. I’ll never get to thank him again or hug him or ask him if he has any good stupid ideas. It sucks and I will never understand the randomness of this existence.

I’ll take comfort in the memories though, and they were some of the best of my life, thanks to Pete.

Know that you are loved.

Crowseph, CJ, me, and Pete

15 thoughts on “About Pete

  1. Thanks for highlighting Pete and his role model influence. I didn’t know Pete and I only lived in the DC metro area from 2012 to 2015. As a cyclist, I certainly knew of him and even managed to join in and survive a Kill Bill ride. Just a few months ago I was explaining to my wife how this larger than life person always managed to de-escalate confrontations on the bike. And how I admired him for that ability that I clearly lack. His legendary willingness to give and support others on and off the bike is only matched by his feats on the bike…and all that without any hint of ego. Rather love. I for one will try my best to “be like Dirt.” We should all try to “be like Dirt,” and then maybe we can collectively fill the void of love and positivity that he leaves behind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this perfect tribute. I’ve been remembering my favorite Pete story (his own account; I’d love to have seen this): When his dog was too old to chase bunnies on his own, Pete stuck him in a trailer and took him to the park. Every time the dog spotted a rabbit, he’d bark his head off, and Pete chased after the rabbit with (presumably) happy dog in tow.

    I lost touch since I moved away, but Pete’s been a role model since the day I met him.

    I’ll cherish the Hello Kitty duct tape on my bike forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautifully said Chris, and thank god for amazing humans such as yourself who reflect all that is Pete – I’m struggling so much with this… having returned to the area recently I had my mind set on so many more coffee ramblings about F1 and awesome 80’s bands (and bad ones), old Italian bikes, and our shared love of Campy, drinking bourbon and waxing poetic about Ditto machines and other stupid nostalgia… I can’t believe he’s gone. He sold Lillian her fist bike about 4 months ago and I’ll cherish every moment the three of us ride together – Lillian crushing the knee high socks, me getting dropped, and Pete on our shoulders – probably taking dangerous panda pics. Love to everyone. – Dickie

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  4. I’ve read and re-read this post many times. You put into words everything I have been feeling but couldn’t describe. My experiences with cycling closely mirror yours, but change the date to 2014. Pete introduced me to gravel, group rides, my first century (on gravel with the complete wrong bike for the job), “ride to the ride,” Tuesday Hills, big stupid rides (I think half the century+ rides I’ve done Pete was involved), blasting inappropriate music at max volume while riding, wine stops, telling your friends they are loved, sweaty hugs, how to know your limits, and sometimes it is ok to quit a race. I once told Pete “I liked riding bikes, you taught me to love them.” The first time I was hit badly by a car I got a text from Pete checking on me (and almost daily checking in after that). I still don’t know how he even found out, I was barely back from the hospital! I guess what I’m trying to say is I miss my friend and mentor. Thank you for writing such wonderful words. You are loved.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought about it and realized we are friends thanks to Pete. I met you on Kill Bill 2015. Let’s do an absurd and stupid ride sometime soon!

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