RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
Friends of RAGBRAI

RAGBRAI news team

Rider who died of heart attack was one of Iowa’s ‘secret famous people’



Somewhere in Tom Teesdale’s West Branch shop sits a steel bike frame, never to be finished.

Teesdale died Monday after he had a heart attack while riding the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, his son said. Teesdale, 62, of West Branch, was known in the international biking community for his custom frame designs, especially for mountain bikes.

For 38 years, Teesdale owned and operated TET Cycles out of a warehouse in West Branch where he sold custom bikes, including cyclocross, mountain, road and tandem.

 

Steve McGuire, a University of Iowa professor of 3-D design and metal arts, said Teesdale’s son called him to tell him about the death.

McGuire said Teesdale would often build custom bikes for special-needs students at Camp Courageous in eastern Iowa and would ride tandem alongside them when they needed a partner.

“He had an engineer’s mind and the generosity of a pope,” he said.

Son John Teesdale said his father loved his family and had a passion for bicycles.

“It’s nice — well, it’s not nice — but if you’ve got to go out, you might as well go out riding your bike,” he said.

RAGBRAI medical director Bob Libby said a quick-response motorcycle and ambulance tried help Teesdale on Monday morning between Terril and Graettinger in northwest Iowa. He later died at Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg.

The last time a rider died during RAGBRAI was in 2010 when a rider collided with another cyclist and suffered a head injury. In 42 years, 29 people have died during the ride, which is organized by Register Media, publisher of The Des Moines Register.

More than 18,000 people were cycling on the RAGBRAI route Monday, according to the Iowa State Patrol.

RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz released a written statement Tuesday saying, “The thoughts and prayers of the entire RAGBRAI Nation are with the family who lost a loved one while he was enjoying RAGBRAI.”

Sean O’Harrow, director of the UI Museum of Art, said Teesdale was one of Iowa’s many “secret famous people.”

“What I think is amazing is that cycling has such a high profile in Iowa, partly because of RAGBRAI, but I think a lot of people had no idea who Tom was,” he said.

O’Harrow said he was working with Teesdale to curate an archive of historic materials following bicycle design before his death.

“He was kind of a machine in the sense that he was the ultimate bike builder, bike designer,” he said. “He was a real artist and a real craftsman, and a real revolutionary thinker.”

Teesdale married in 1980 and had one daughter, Kate, and four sons, John, Matthew, Andrew, and Jacob, according to his obituary.

McGuire said Teesdale was a visiting professor at UI and that he first met him when Teesedale designed a custom bike for McGuire’s adult son, who has cerebral palsy.

“I regarded him as a great friend, a mentor,” he said. “He just knew so much.”

McGuire said Teesdale was at the forefront of mountain bike design, including designing the 1988 Fisher Mt. Tam, which McGuire considers “one of the great bikes made.”

His work has been shown at the Chicago Bicycle Show, and McGuire said Teesdale had been designing his first titanium frame to enter with students into the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show.

“He had a level of precision,” he said. “He really strived to make every bike unique for the person it was for. Over the years, he acquired a knowledge of materials that few people will ever achieve just through experience.”

Rick Hopson, a cardiologist and president of Iowa City Cycling Club, said Teesdale was well-regarded among “old-school cyclists.”

Teesdale was not a salesman or showman, Hopson said, but a true artisan.

“He was always completely dirty with welding solder and welding glasses and an apron on,” he said. “He would sit down and talk with you about what it was.

“He definitely had the spirit of cycling.”

9 Responses on “Rider who died of heart attack was one of Iowa’s ‘secret famous people’

Alex Pieper

July 22, 2014 at 8:28 pm

I own and ride a Teesdale built Steel Mnt bike, it is a piece of art. when I bent it a few months ago in a crash, I just boxed it up, with a tear in my eye, and sent it to it’s maker, Tom had a new downtube welded in in days……. he dropped everything to get my bike fixed, even realized that as a big guy, i needed a stronger tube, and made it right

GODspeed Tom, you were a master

Grant Kruse

July 23, 2014 at 10:17 am

Tom’ s impact on my world will outlive him, and me. My daughter wanted to do RAGBRAI for the first time back around 2001, but her bike (an old Schwinn mountain bike) really wasn’t up to speed, so I asked Tom to refurb it with some good dropouts and brazeons and fresh paint. He graciously did so, and my daughter rode, and met her future husband, and they now have two beautiful kids of their own. Tom had a part in this that he never knew, and that I will never forget.

www.facebook.com

July 24, 2014 at 9:40 am

Counter Strike Global Offense: This game is a multiplayer first person shooter which involves taking objectives and killing enemies.

For instance, in the third level from the silver age, after defeating
a miniboss, you might have to fight your way beyond an ad to get a Kung Fu manual.
They know and you know, they didn’t really beat you and also all they will really want is people upset.

David Ster

July 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I cracked my carbon fiber frame 4 years ago and wanted to go back to steel. I couldn’t find one with the same geometry as my 1972 racing bike. I took him my old bike and had him restore it and make a new bike just like it with a few changes to take modern gearing and parts. It’s the best fitting and riding bike I ever owned. Thanks Tom you will be .

Don Brennan

July 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Tom Teesdale….what a trail of good memories you leave behind. Just think…..If there is a cycle dept up there….you’ll be the top dog! RIP…good man.

bmoc

July 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Good Man, fixed my bike too

Profile photo of SFC JKL2

SFC JKL2

July 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm

We lost a great one. Best wishes to the family.

Til we ride again…

James B Horan

July 28, 2014 at 7:58 am

It is sad to hear about any death on RAGBRAI. There was a doctor that fell and died the last day of 2009 in a park on the way to Burlington. All I could think was he died doing what he wanted to do. I have done 5 RAGBRAI’s but did not make this year’s. I rode a 75 mile charity ride yesterday from Philadelphia to Atlantic City and two riders fell hard and were unconscious after one biker’s tire fell into a rut on the rode. Most roads were made for cars and trucks and not bikes.

Delta Care USA

August 6, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Fantastic items from you, man. I have take
into account your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely magnificent.
I actually like what you have bought right here, really like what
you are stating and the way in which you assert it. You’re making it entertaining and you continue to care for to keep
it wise. I can not wait to learn far more from you. That is really a
tremendous web site.

Leave a Reply

Advertisement

Latest Blog Posts

  • Bike MS: Iowa, Saturday, June 27

    Don’t just ride, Bike MS! Ride 25, 50 or 75 miles, and celebrate your finish with live music and free beer from Firetrucker Brewery in Ankeny Iowa! Bike MS is unlike any ...

  • RIDE RIGHT Safety Tips: TIP #1 The RIGHT Stuff

    If you have committed to riding RAGBRAI this year, it all starts with Tip #1, the RIGHT stuff. And when I say stuff, I mean bicycle. Every RAGBRAI ...

  • Don’t fly with your bike, have it shipped to RAGBRAI!

    If you are flying to the start of RAGBRAI, avoid the hassle and ship your bike.  Any one of these bike shipping companies are ready and able to ship your ...

  • RAGBRAI Training: 2015 RAGBRAI Training Plan

    Spring is here and it is time to get serious about your preparation for RAGBRAI. It is a mere 15 weeks away so it is time to start building ...

  • Dennis DeYoung and the Music of STYX will be Rocking in Hiawatha!

    Dennis DeYoung is a founding member of STYX and the lead singer and writer on seven of the bands eight Top Ten Hits. His live concert showcases all the STYX ...

  • Don't Wait 'Til the Last Minute - Weeklong Registration Ends April 1!

    Want to ride with us all week for RAGBRAI XLIII? The deadline for registration is April 1, just under a week away.

  • Weeklong Rider Registration Deadline is April 1

    The deadline to register online as a weeklong rider for this year’s RAGBRAI is midnight, April 1.

  • View the 2015 Interactive Route Map

    Zoom in on the towns and byways for RAGBRAI 2015.

  • "Ask a Trooper" Discusses Bike Racks on Vehicles

    During a driving vacation out west, I noticed the popularity of bumper-attached bicycle and luggage racks. Are there any rules with these?

  • RAGBRAI XLIII route: Unique attractions every few miles

    The definitive guide to how riders will get fed and cooled off (oh, and maybe see some important stuff) during RAGBRAI XLIII.

Latest Videos

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz points out highlights of the pass-through towns along the route cyclists will follow July 19 to 25, 2015.

  • RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz previews the 8 towns that the ride has never touched.

  • Tune in to RAGBRAI.com this weekend to be the first to know the details of this year's route. RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz shares when the rookie pass through towns, full route map will be announced.

  • RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz annouces the 2015 overnight towns. Ride will start in Sioux City and end in Davenport.

  • The Register's Kyle Munson and Michael Morain attempt to get an early look at the 2015 RAGBRAI route

  • We are excited to reveal our new logo for RAGBRAI XLIII and 2015! If you join us on our ride across the state next year, you’ll be sure to see welcoming Iowans, lots of farmland and… well you’ll just have to watch the video to find out.

  • Look back on the ride of 2014 in this video highlight reel.

  • A group of friends from Canada spent the week on RAGBRAI and recount their best moments.

  • As RAGBRAI XLII comes to an end, friends from California talk about the emotion behind dipping their tires into the Mississippi River at the end of the ride.

  • Riders react at the Guttenberg dip site.

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2015 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy