Life, the real kind, unfettered and un-faked by the Internet and social media, is a personal thing. It’s encapsulated by these phrases which remind us that it’s not the masses that matter, it’s the person.
“All politics are local.”
“Nothing ever happens until it happens to you.”
And this: “Misery is news but tragedy is personal.”
The closer it is the more you feel it, and even though I was 7,000 miles away yesterday I felt the death of Jonathan Tansavatdi, a cyclist who rides for my club, Big Orange. Jon was killed when he was hit by a truck as he descended Hawthorne Blvd., a road that every cyclist in the South Bay knows intimately.
These words were written by his best friend and riding buddy, Matt Miller:
On March 8, 2016 Jonathan Tansavatdi died doing what he loved. Riding his bicycle.
Jon was a true friend. He was my partner on the bike. We rode together more than we rode alone, and we rode a lot, thousands of miles. Over those miles we became brothers. We shared our dreams, our fears, and our water bottles. My wife took care of his dog Leia when we’d spend entire days on the road, and he would always bring her a bag of Groundworks Coffee as a thank you.
When he learned we didn’t have a coffee grinder, he bought us one.
Jon was a man of unlimited potential. On the bike he was becoming unstoppable. He was so strong that even after 180 miles he couldn’t keep himself from going off the front of our peloton time and time again at the Camino Real Double Century. On our last ride together, the FDR, we approached a cyclist who had passed us on Crest and was running out of gas. “Let’s come up on him slowly, then step on the gas and drop him,” I said.
“Let’s just go now,” was Jon’s reply. And then he dropped us both.
Jon wasn’t just strong, either. He was kind. After the last bro ride, we sat on our top tubes for 10 minutes outside his apartment while he gently encouraged Bader to ride hard, but also to ride more safely and obey the rules of the peloton.
Off the bike He was a prodigious success. He was a founding member of the Rubicon Project, a tech startup that made it big. He just left to found another start up company that had already secured several million in investments.
Perhaps most impressively, Jon had invented his own photosharing app, nearly at the beta testing stage, that allows users to automatically share photos with friends nearby via bluetooth. We mused how useful an app like that would be on our rides.
More than anything, Jon loved his family. He spoke of his sisters and mother and wife with compassion, understanding, and a clear desire to protect them.
No one was more proud to be Orange. He wore our kit with honor and distinction and guts and a smile. He embodied our club’s only rule: Don’t be a dick.
Jonathan Tansavatdi was a beautiful human being that paid the ultimate price for living his dream every day. He was a hardman of the road, and he was my brother. He leaves this life aged only 29 years, but I will carry him in my heart and on my bike for the rest of my life.
Rest In Peace, brother. May a tailwind carry your soul to eternity.