Rolling on in memory

Published 7:36 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

Julie Thomsen is looking to help strengthen the biking community in memory of her husband, Dave Thomsen


In the cycling world of Austin, you likely knew or at the very least heard of  Dave Thomsen.

An avid cyclist, Thomsen competed in races across the country as well as competitions in the offseason through timed competition, and he was always willing to help advance the sport in Austin.

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It’s why his wife, Julie Thomsen, is hoping that a fundraiser will help contribute to a lasting legacy for her late husband, who died on Jan. 26 of this year.

Julie is hoping to raise money for a proposed obstacle course for the community of Austin. Because it’s so early in the process, a location has not been decided on yet.

The aim is to hopefully raise $5,000 by bringing back an event Dave used to hold during those colder months.

“Dave used to put on a bike event in the winter months — Bikin’ Barney’s Time Trials,” Julie said. “He would do it in the off season just for entertainment really.”

This new iteration of the event will take place on May 21, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Riders will need to preregister at Rydjor Bike Shop where they can sign up for 15-minute time slots.

An example of what the obstacle course may included. Graphic provided

Only 30 riders will be accepted. The cost is $15 per rider with each rider also getting two raffle tickets, however, raffle tickets will also be sold at Rydjor for $5 or three for $10.

All the money raised will go toward the obstacle course project, which is still very early in the process.

“We are just in the planning phases,” Julie said. “We don’t have a design, we don’t have a bid and estimate of how much we think it’s going to take.”

Dave was an avid sportsman, but it was the cycling where he really stood out, competing with a team in Madison, Wisconsin as well as being part of a group of Austin men who rode across the country.

Thomsen was a member of the Coast to Coasters, a group of five that included himself, Roe Erlandson, Jerry Ulwelling, Dick Schindler and Terry Fox. The riders set off from the Pacific coast and rode across the country to the East Coast in 2011.

Thomsen, however, couldn’t finish the ride after taking a spill in South Dakota where he broke his clavicle.

He was also part of a ride that started at Itasca State Park here in the state and crossed the country north to south.

Julie helped plan that first cross country trip as a 70th birthday present for Dave and she has no doubt that he would wholeheartedly approve the reemergence of Bikin’ Barney’s Time Trials, especially considering how much it is likely to contribute to the community.

“He would just absolutely love that and it would be something for the entire community,” Julie said.

As participants ride through their 15 minutes  at Rydjor, they will use a trainer that belonged to Dave that can be adjusted to simulate different terrain, something organizers are hoping to replicate this May.

“He used to have this trainer and you could change the wattage, the resistance,” Julie said. “He would stand next to the bike with the person who was riding. The cyclist would get to a certain distance and (Dave) would change the resistance.”

While the competition will raise money for the proposed project and celebrate the life of Dave, it will also be something for kids taking part on the Mountain Bike Team in Austin.

It’s a chance to learn and in the end receive the benefits of what Dave knew and relied on.

“I want to indoctrinate the team.” Julie said. “It might be kind of fun for these kids to figure out how to train when the weather is bad.” 

People can start registering for the event now, which will remain open until the 30 slots are filled. Several prizes will be available during the raffle including a $500 and $250 gift certificate for Rydjor. There will also be awards for the riders themselves including shelves made of bike wheels.

There will also be a storyboard at Rydjor that lays out the hoped-for plans of the obstacle course.

“It should be just good fun,” Julie said. “It benefits all the way around. It’s definitely a win-win.”