Monday, July 1, 2013

Gordy Shields, San Diego Cycling Legend, Passes

By Kathy Keehan, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition Board Member

Gordy Shields, San Diego cycling legend, passed away yesterday from complications from open heart surgery. 

Opening of the H Street to Palomar Street Segment
 of the Bayshore Bikeway (2012)
Cycling record holder (national time trial record holder for the 80, 85, 90 and 95 age groups) and passionate cycling advocate, Gordy was a personal hero to me. We attended many meetings together, most of which were about the Bayshore Bikeway, the regional treasure he championed from the 1970s onward. What struck me most about Gordy was his ability to be a strong advocate for cycling, while still being a warm compassionate person. He was kind to me when I was a new advocate still struggling to find my footing in a confusing bike world. He didn’t care how far I rode or how fast, so long as I spoke up for cyclists. He understood that advocacy took a long time, and  he always said that he hoped the Bayshore Bikeway would be finished before he passed. He never gave up, even during the dark days when it seemed the bikeway would never get started, let alone finished. The legacy of his perseverance lives on in the Bayshore Bikeway, along with other bicycling improvements all throughout the county. In his later years, Gordy was also an inspiring advocate for aging with grace and style, and was recently honored as one of San Diego County’s “San Diego Legends.” 

What made Gordy special to so many was his warmth and kindness. He had a delight in everything he did, and that transferred onto every person whose life he touched. Gordy, we will miss your strength, your spirit, and your joy. Godspeed. 

Groundbreaking for the H to Palomar section (2011)
Opening of the Gordy Shields Bridge on the Bayshore Bikeway (2004)


  1. A champion for all of us who ride. A founding member of the SDCBC whom we can all thank for giving so much to improving bicycling in our region. Such an inspiration and gentleman who's legacy will live on through the Bayshore Bikeway and many other projects he touched.

    Andy Hanshaw
    Executive Director

    1. I had the great pleasure of being able to work with Gordy through his many years as the Chair of the SANDAG Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee and his participation on the Bayshore Bikeway Working Group. He pushed hard for what he thought was right, but he did so in a way that endeared him to everyone around. He was so engaged and so resolute for so long that it seemed like he would be around forever. Of course that couldn't be. We will miss him.

  2. Met him a couple times on the road. Gordy was pure class and an inspiration.

  3. I had gone through a person who was with very good physique after 70 years old. I forgot the person name. But after getting Gordy Shields I think he is surpassing all of us who claims strongest with great stamina.


  4. I am lucky to have known this amazing person and to have ridden with him with the Cyclo Vets in San Diego. He will be terribly missed!! My heart goes out to his family and all of his many, many friends! Anna