Beloved Emmitsburg cyclist dies after pickup truck hits him from behind in Frederick County – Baltimore Sun

The Washington-area cycling community mourns Shawn Blumenfeld, a beloved cyclist who Maryland State Police say died Monday after a motorist hit him with a pickup truck in Frederick County.

Blumenfeld, 51, was struck from behind on a road in the Emmitsburg area and died at the scene, police said.

After beginning his career as a bike courier in Washington, Blumenfeld has become an industry advocate, business owner, and race organizer around the world. “He did everything and anything” related to bikes and cycling, said his brother, Lane Blumenfeld.

When Lane Blumenfeld graduated from Yale Law School in 1993, for example, Shawn Blumenfeld built her a bicycle to celebrate her achievement. Then he drove it from Washington to New Haven, Connecticut — more than 300 miles — to give it to her, recalls Lane Blumenfeld.

Shawn Blumenfeld was proud of Washington and its industry, said Rebecca “Lambchop” Reilly, who met Blumenfeld in 1990 when she was “a rookie runner out of breath” because her bike was falling apart. Blumenfeld, after a few years in the business, fixed it.

The two remained friends over the years, with Reilly describing Blumenfeld as talkative and brilliant, with a passion for improving the business. The two were among the main organizers of the 1998 Cycling Messenger Championships in DC

“Bega always wanted to do everything he could do the best he could,” Reilly said, using Blumenfeld’s nickname.

She was one of the people he hired when he started his own bike messenger business in the late 1990s. He hired good couriers, insisted they ride safe – s always stopping at red lights and stop signs — and charged higher fees for services so he could pay his employees well, Reilly said.

“Of all people, it makes me furious that he died this way,” said Reilly, who went on to write a book about the bike messenger industry. “He was so safe.”

Blumenfeld’s love of cycling was such that he cared about members of the community even before meeting them personally.

After Hans Ruppenthal in 2017 broke eight ribs in an accident that sent him to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, he received an out of the blue message from Blumenfeld – whom he had never met.

Blumenfeld wanted to know if he was okay, Ruppenthal recalled, and if there was anything he could do to help.

Blumenfeld’s crash happened around 2:45 p.m. Monday in the 10,000 block of Taneytown Pike, state police said, who were still working to determine why the motorist hit Blumenfeld as he and the van were driving heading west in the same way on the pike.

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Lane Blumenfeld said he assumed his brother was doing his daily workout when he was hit. He said his brother was a cautious cyclist who usually traveled on his shoulder when riding the roads and credited a helmet with saving his life in a previous serious accident.

Shawn Blumenfeld had lived in the neighborhood for years before moving to Emmitsburg. He was involved with a bike shop in DC, was a certified USA Cycling coach, and specialized in race strategy and cycling math, according to his blog. He was also the manager of a women’s professional cycling team called Hub Racing.

He considered himself, he said in a blog entry, “one of the most unsuccessful road cyclists of all time”.

Blumenfeld was an “experienced and capable cyclist” whose love for the industry was obvious to all, said Joe Hendry, a Toronto-based former bike messenger who met Blumenfeld at the world championships in 1998.

Both wanted to protect the rights of bike couriers as the industry evolved, with the increasing use of emails and electronic signatures filling the role that couriers traditionally played.

Even after Blumenfeld retired from the courier industry, Hendry said, he rode his bike all the time.

“It gets in you,” he said of Blumenfeld’s passion for cycling, “and it never leaves you.”

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