[This article was written by Erin Greeson. You might remember her in-depth examination of the bike messenger industry.]
(1960 ~ 2009)
On the evening of Tuesday, April 14, Team Beer lost a beloved teammate, “Century” Steve Nelson after a battle with illness and a stream of hospital visits from friends and teammates.
Steve succumbed precisely in time to join his beloved Team Beer in spirit. As the call came and news was shared, heads bowed in quiet grief and meditation, and glasses were raised to quietly salute a teammate whose smile, wisdom and support would be sorely missed but never forgotten.
“I looked up to Steve, and he’ll always be with me,” said John Howe, a founding member of Team Beer. “I feel good knowing that I now have someone out there who I can talk to, laugh with and ask questions that I can’t ask my grandpa, who’s in a similar place,” he added.
I vividly remember my first impression of Century Steve. It was at Mount Tabor last year; we both joined Team Beer at the same time. I have an indelible impression of the warm-hearted, quick-witted man who encouraged me before my first stab at racing. I remember the enthusiasm and support he provided at that moment, which remained and even expanded when I completed my attempt, rolling in – and laughing at myself – in second-to-last place.
Steve was among the circle of teammates who hugged and congratulated me even though I felt self-conscious about the layers of sweat and grime on my body. It didn’t matter to Steve. He was proud.
Fondly known as “Century Steve” because of his passion and endurance for epic long-distance rides, Steve was an ever-present member of the Team Beer family. Rather than racing competitively, Steve preferred adventuring in Oregon’s stunning expanse of scenic roadsides, often slating hundred-plus mile rides into his mental notebook of life journeys.
Steve rarely missed an opportunity to support his fellow Team Beer mates at the races. Whether laughing with mud-coated friends in the cyclocross season rain, or lounging in the curb-side grass on summer evenings at Mt. Tabor
Steve rarely missed an opportunity to support his fellow Team Beer mates at the races. Whether laughing with mud-coated friends in the cyclocross season rain, or lounging in the curb-side grass on summer evenings at Mt. Tabor, “Century Steve” was always there to observe, support and share thoughts and insights with those fortunate enough to spend time with him.
Also, because Team Beer was founded on principles of community participation and plain-old fun, Steve was often the first to sign up for volunteer events, from the Worst Day of the Year Ride to the Filmed By Bike premiere, which he was eagerly slated to support again this year. He loved attending all kinds of events, including parties and “bike pub crawls” to celebrate teammates’ birthdays.
the Worst Day of the Year Ride.
(Photo © Amber Lee Clark)
In addition to his love for team, Steve embodied and all-encompassing passion for cycling that is difficult to match, even in the bike-enamored Portland community. He not only rode distance rides, but approached them transcendentally. For example, he completed Cycle Oregon in 2007, and he rode Reach the Beach last year while helping his dear friend Brian who was battling lung cancer. At times Steve helped push his friend up the hills so they could complete the distance together.
This Sunday, April 19, Team Beer invites friends and the community to join us in honoring the life and spirit of our fallen teammate, Century Steve. As a fitting homage to a man who loved the challenge of hill climbs and the breathtaking vistas that they bring, the ride will route will feature three vantage points that Steve loved: Mount Tabor, then Rocky Butte followed by a continued ride west to Council Crest.
- Ride Begins at 4:00pm
Starting/Ending Location: Roots Brewing
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please note that the ride will be open and accessible to anyone who would like to participate: we will ride as a group, and no one will be left behind, no matter one’s speed or capability, just as Steve would have done. Participants can ride to one, two or all three points with the group, breaking away at any point preferable. Some of Steve’s closest friends were not as involved in cycling as he, so Team Beer hopes to make the ride approachable and possible for all, especially those who made the past week’s transition easier to navigate, thanks to their care and kindness.)
Erin Greeson loves cycling. When she’s not riding, she works as an advocate for a sustainable transportation economy and culture.
Greeson currently works for Audubon in the Gulf Coast region and previously served Renewable Northwest Project. Over 10 years in Portland, she volunteered professional services toward vital community causes, including the Towards Carfree Cities Conference and as co-founder of activist group, We are ALL Traffic.
Focused on climate issues, Greeson supports organizations that deliver creative strategies to address the great social, environmental and economic challenge of our time. With Portland as inspiration, she seeks bike options everywhere.