Remembering Boyd Siglerby Joe Ward, LBC historian
A few years back Dave Runge and I rode our bikes from Louisville to the Red River Gorge for a club ride. We wandered around a bit, going by Lawrenceburg and Versailles and Ironworks Pike and Todds Creek Road, and we had more than 150 miles in by the time we reached a little roadside grocery east of Stanton in Powell County. That was in days before the KYCYCLIST and reports of brevets and back-to-back Mad Dog centuries became commonplace, and our attitude was climbing toward haughty. We went into the store and manipulated the conversation until the guy asked where we were riding from, and to. We told him.
He said, “Oh, yeah. There was an old guy through here doing the same thing.” He paused and looked at us. “He’s quite a bit ahead of you,” he said.
It was Boyd Sigler, of course. He must have been in his eighties by then. He’d been telling his joke about being so old he didn’t even buy green bananas for a couple of years already. He joked about the same way Letterman and Leno have been with regard to John McCain. When both the Louisville Bicycle Club and the Southern Indiana Wheelmen gave him life memberships, he said, “Boy, you guys really go out on a limb, don’t you?”
For years he’d ride anywhere he wanted to go. He’d ride up to northern Indiana for the Amishland and Lakes Tour. He’d ride here and there to see various of his five children. Lesser geezers envied his ability to link up with attractive women on large group rides. Boyd was a chick magnet.
He was who he was. He was no slave to fashion and trends. When he’d ride up to Bloomington for the Hilly Hundred, his luggage consisted of a collection of stuffed garbage bags lashed to his rear carrier in an arrangement that was not fathomable to other people. He saw no reason to discard gloves or shoes that were maybe scuffed a little.
He also practiced economy in routing. I led a group on a ride to Georgetown for the Horsey Hundred a few times and Boyd went with us one year. I took the scenic route, out Taylorsville Road, through Mt. Eden and Lawrenceburg. By the time we got to Lawrenceburg, Boyd was becoming incensed. The way to Georgetown lay through Frankfort, he said. His idea was to take U.S. 60 to Versailles and U.S. 62 to Georgetown. A little bit of traffic didn’t bother Boyd.
Susie Peters, of Clarksville Schwinn, who is one of Boyd’s four daughters, said he had the same attitude about riding around town. He lived in the West End for many years, and when he’d ride over to New Albany, he’d take the Sherman Minton Bridge. The police would stop him and explain to him that the only bridge one can cross on a bicycle is the Clark Bridge. And he would explain to them that he was going to New Albany. He would ask them why he would want to ride all of the way downtown and all the way back when there was a perfectly good bridge in the direction he was going? They’d end up taking him the rest of the way across - which was fine with him.
Susie said Boyd was overweight and chained-smoked Camels when he retired from many years in the insurance business. He was a big ham radio enthusiast for years, and a Boy Scout leader. When he finally decided to get some exercise, he started with swimming and running first, and once ran the Derby Festival Mini Marathon in scout shorts and knee socks.
Susie said her cycling got him interested in riding and he knocked around on garage sale bikes until his children bought him something more his size. And he never looked back. He started slowing down a bit after a serious accident on Pope Lick Road a few years ago. Allison Ewart, the ride captain, came upon him lying unconscious on a pile of rocks. He did come back from that to ride on but accidents became more frequent. Susie said ride captains would call and tell her that he shouldn’t be riding, and she would ask “How am I going to stop him?” Boyd last rode in 2003.
Boyd moved from his house in the West End to an apartment downtown some years ago, and into an efficiency after that, though his children were after him to move in with one of his daughters. He was getting around the efficiency with a wheelchair and a walker when he decided a couple of weeks ago that it was time to move in with his daughter, Joanne, in Lexington. He died there at 92 last Friday evening. There was no report of any bananas left over. Bob Peters said Boyd got to visit with all five of his children last week, and he gave one of his caretakers advice on taxes 24 hours before he died.
We’re going to miss Boyd.
A memorial service more along lines of a “Boyd's Barnyard Bash”, in Susie's words, will be held for him May 10, 3 p.m., at Joe Huber’s Restaurant. Boyd will be there, no doubt, looking to see who came. It’s hard telling which bridge he’ll use.
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web posted: 17 Jan 2009
last updated: 17 Jan 2009