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R.I.P.

I’ve kicked around the idea of doing this blog post for quite some time now because it’s very personal and it still has a profound effect on me. On May 6th 2011, I lost a great friend in a bicycle accident. His name was Eric Shanley but everyone who knew him just called him Squid. Squid was riding his bike from one friend’s house to another to watch a movie in Lake Orion Mi (just north of Detroit). As he was crossing a major roadway that was under construction he was struck and killed by a police officer that was looking for a drunk driver at the time. I have no intention to discuss who was in the wrong or what Squid should or should not have done that evening. The fact of the matter is that I lost someone who was very important to me. If you’ve worked in the bicycle industry or you’ve been involved with cycling long enough you probably know someone who was in a serious accident or even killed by a motor vehicle. And that fucking sucks.

>I first met Squid when I moved to Detroit in 1990 at a punk show at a bar called Blondies. Squid was mixing it up in the pit boot dancing like a wild animal keeping everyone at bay. I was impressed. Shortly after the show was over we were introduced by a mutual friend and we immediately hit it off. Squid and I became very close in a short amount of time and we ended up sharing a few apartments over the next few years. We were a lot alike. We both had a passionate disdain for anything “normal” and we refused to play by everyone else’s rules. That got us in a fair amount of trouble as I’m sure you could imagine. The thing was, we actually liked people in general. If people were willing to look past the Mohawks, tattoos, and our punk rock lifestyle they would find someone who would give you the shirt off our backs if you really needed it. Squid was always willing to let someone he just met crash at our place, eat something and clean themselves up. I’d seen Squid, more than once, offer someone gas money just so they could get home. Squid had a huge heart and was always quick to smile and laugh. He had a different way of looking at things that defiantly rubbed off on me. He was a good person that should not have died at 38 years old.

I got the news he was killed from a friend in Detroit that Friday afternoon. At the time I was working as a customer service agent for QBP in Minnesota. I’ll never forget that phone call or the rest of that day. It felt like I was in a haze and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of Dodge. When I got home I busted out the Minor Threat, The Exploited, GBH, Black Flag and more, remembering things we had said and done while trying to fill that hole with Jack Daniels. I still think of him all the time, smiling and laughing, living like it was our last day on earth.

Be careful when you ride your bike because if anything happens to you, you will be greatly missed.

Now back to your regulary scheduled programs,

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About Backwoods Off

Bob is at heart a nice guy, a fact he tries hard to dispel by riding a Harley (and dressing like it), and by hunting deer, turkey, and others of God’s magnificent creatures, which he then eats because that is how you do that. He enforces Surly’s use of social media, which is not as funny as it may sound since many people in this group truly hate the very idea of social media.

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