Remembering GaryJ - share your memories

Discussion in 'General' started by Tyler, May 20, 2012.

  1. Tyler

    Tyler Miss Demeanor

    Santa Clara
    Tyler (Ms.)
    In the midst of the loss of such a great person as Gary Jaehne, I thought perhaps it might ease the pain just a little bit by sharing the memories you have of him that can also be shared with his wife, Jill, and family/friends.

    I remember the first time I met Gary on one of the loop rides in Davenport. I knew who he was and the folklore that went with him... kind of like some celebrity moto demi-god. :) I nervously went up to introduce myself and he greeted me with warmth and a huge smile and the feeling that I was his friend from the start. And anytime I saw him out in the hills, he always had a big hug and smile to share. He had that ability to just bring you in and I think he did that with just about anyone who crossed his path.

    I will honor him by trying to do the same as I travel through life.
  2. Motech

    Motech Mr. Logorrhoea

    Santa Cruz
    Our running joke was the Davenport break was our beer stop, time to throw back a few cold ones to grease up our skillsets for the second half of the ride. Of course, we all know how vehemently Gary opposed any altering substances while riding, and his disdain for riders who would drink a beer then throw a leg over was literally the only times I ever heard him dis other riders, so it was definitely tongue-in-cheek.

    "Ready for a beer Gary?" "Let's drink two Steve!" :biggrin
  3. JusRidin

    JusRidin Well-Known Member

    San Jose
    I met Gary what started out as a simple email regarding the type of tires he ran on his "older gen Ninja". He offered to modify my fender to accommodate the tires and invited me to his and Jill's home. From that simple email he became my mentor, we exchanged many emails over the 3 years, rode together on many Doc Wong rides and whenever I could convince him I needed some more "on road" advice. When I picked up dirt bike riding, it was Gary I contacted regading riding in the mud since I just could not seem to get that right. He sent me a lengthy email that I still have and will keep forever with so many good tips.

    He more or less became my "big brother on the hill", if two weeks went by without hearing from me I was sure to find a "checking in from Gary" email in my inbox. He loved to share his experiences on the track with me, the articles he was in or wrote, he even gave me a copy of his first book which I think I read three times.

    I remember convincing Gary I needed his help, I'd just come back from a broken ankle on the dirt bike and was having confidence issues riding my Ninja. He and his friend Tim spent the best part of a Sunday with me, instructing me, joking, laughing, had lunch together before parting ways (I couldn't after all occupy his entire day). Never once did either of them complain about my slow pace, they both sucked it up and "paid it forward", it was my second ride on a bike after my accident. In fact I received an email later that day from Gary, he said he enjoyed our ride that even Tim said it was nice to take in the views that are usually missed by their spirited pace. That sent a big fat smile on my face!

    The last time I rode with Gary, Solomon and I rode two up on my FZ6. Solomon and I swept Doc Wong's group. Solomon was able to keep up with their pace and I had such a good time that Gary invited me out to a track day where he said he'd take me on a really fast ride two up. Unfortunately I will never get that opportunity. He was such a special person, never judging anyone, always willing to help out new riders taking them under his wing as he did me. I am forever greatful and will miss him terribly.....
  4. Arzonist

    Arzonist Emotionally Dsyfunctional

    I rode with Gary J several times on some of his "true grit " rain or shine rides and was just in complete awe of how great of a rider he was especially on a bike most consider strictly a beginners no frills bike and would literally leave bigger bikes in his dust. But my fondest memory of him was when we were at THill and the advice he gave me for turn 12. How he told me to tell that little voice in my head that screams brake sooner than necessary to "shut up" and upon following his advice not only did I traverse that corner smoother and faster it was also the first time I've ever touched my knee on the deck. So for me his advice accomplished two goals for me and will forever stay in my memories. Gary your absence from the MC community will leave a huge hole in everyone's heart. You were not only a mentor to a lot of us but you were an inspiration to all. When we debate or discuss top riders we know its your name that always takes the number 1 spot. God speed my friend you will be missed.
  5. CanyonStan

    CanyonStan Active Member

    Long before I had moved to NorCal (and have since moved back to SoCal) I had bought Gary's book 'Sportbiking: The Real World 2'. As a student of riding, I enjoyed the awesome advice the book gave me. When I moved to NorCal, I went to a Doc Wong Suspension seminar and realized that the man giving the seminar wrote the book I had read. I was in awe, cause to me he was a real celebrity. He and I actually chatted at the end of the seminar and he was so friendly and unassuming, he literally treated me like a long time friend or family member.

    Later, I got the chance to go on a few of the group rides that he led. He helped me see you don't need a 150+ HP bike to be fast. I soon gave up my 05 R1 and got my Duc 749. Having only seen me a few times, he remembered I had previously had an R1 and congratulated me for choosing handling over horsepower.

    I would see him at STP regularly after that and he was always nice enough to say Hi, despite being a local legend. Since I've moved back to SoCal, I would frequently mention him, his amazing riding skills and recommend his book to new riders I met here.

    I say this with absolute conviction, Gary touched the lives of motorcyclists all over the world, not just in the Bay. His loss is tragic and I pray his family and close friends are at least comforted by the fact that he gave so much to so many.

    Thanks for everything Gary, you will be missed.
  6. JeffKoch

    JeffKoch Well-Known Member

    Summer 2000, at a DP Trackday at Thunderhill. I was riding a BMW K75S at my first trackday, and Gary was instructing in class and in my group as we went around the track for the first time. We did follow-the-leader laps, and when it was my turn I was over-eager to take off, and thought woo-hoo, let's go! So I took off and started riding over my head, barely staying in control with Gary on my tail watching me - the next guy behind him got sucked in and crashed, we lost the rest of the group, I blew T11 and went off into the dirt, and only then did I notice Gary putting his hand up and down, saying in effect "SLOW DOWN YOU MORON, YOU'RE GOING TO CRASH!!". We pulled in to clear the track, my pulse was racing, I was panting and totally charged with adrenaline and thinking I was Top Squid, and Gary began to chew me out for riding like an idiot and not staying in control, barely hanging on through every turn. He repeated the chastising back in class, using me as an example of how *not* to approach track riding, and instead emphasizing that we need to add speed gradually as we learn skills and become more familiar with the track environment.

    I rode with Gary many times over the years, on backroads on the street, at track days, we raced together now and then, pitted near each other and talked, but I never forgot the lesson he taught me at my first trackday. :)
  7. Alex

    Alex Il Motociclismo e' Amore

    I think the first time I met Gary was at Doc Wong suspension class. I had just moved to CA, bought the Duc and was starting to ride in the hills and learning again how to ride on twisty mountain roads after many years in the flats on MN, eastern PA, NYC and Houston TX. I had already heard about him and looked forward to meeting him and listen to what he had to say about suspension adjustments.

    After that I rode with him many times on street and track, as did many others in the Bay Area. On the track, the time I remember the most is at THill a few years ago, talking about the off-camber turn 3 and telling him that it messed up with my head and I just tip-toed around it. In usual Gary fashion, he talked to me about lines in T3 and then he came out with me in the next session and showed them to me. I got better, but I could still use a lot of his advice.

    On the street, the most vivid moment for me was on Smith Grade, going from Bonny Doon to Empire Grade, I was either behind him or another bike back as we approached a right-hander, I think about 2/3 of the way. I saw Gary not hit the turn at the apex but rather move towards the middle of the lane. I thought it strange and without thinking, but rather by instinctive reaction, I moved a bit too away from the apex. It turns out there was a bunch of dirt and gravel near the apex and by moving I got the edge of it instead of hitting it full. The front end shook some, the front tire slid what felt like half a foot but I stayed up - not sure what would have happened had I hit it full, don't want to know. At the regroup on Empire Grade, I told Gary what happened and he said something like "Oh yeah, there's always gravel in that corner." That day I learned that Gary knew every inch of those roads - later I learned he also knew how they changed with conditions and seasons - and I also learned the importance of knowing every piece of the roads well before pushing on them.
  8. mattzz

    mattzz resU deretsigeR

    Hamburg, Germany
    "Bench racing" at four corners, learning about the Ninja 250 fender mod and the Dunlop GT501, countless Saturday morning ride (SMRs), a couple of true grit rides and many laughs at Davenport.

    Most memorable: Making me (a riding noob) feel welcome to participate and sweep SMRs with my Ninjette and giving me a thumbs up at a junction when the group had to wait for me.

    I've never met such a knowledgable, helpful and overall cool person. You will be missed!
  9. Andy

    Andy Wheelie for Safety

    Los Altos, CA
    My fondest memories are having lunch with Gary at Davenport. These were the Saturday loop rides where we would enjoy riding out to Davenport for lunch. Gary always had lots to talk about as he lived life to the very fullest.
  10. kell

    kell Stranger Here Myself

    One of my fondest memories was of a chance encounter with Gary and Helmut (of Helimot leathers) one weekend in Davenport, after chatting over lunch we ended up riding back to Alices, I swapped bikes with Helmut for a bit and he and Gary promptly checked out from my view - Helmut on my Z1000! I was like "Bloody Hell - don't crash my bike you crazy German!"....After we regrouped - I remember after that the three of us rode together - it was one of those super smooth yet quick rides with no other traffic, seemingly we had the hills all to ourselves. Our route back to Alices took us along Pescadero Road, past the very spot Gary was to lose his life yesterday.

    So fast forwarding to today, after hearing the news of Gary's passing earlier, I rode out to Pescadero Road late this afternoon ( unfortunately on the way coming across what turned out to be the second fatality of the weekend), and lo and behold at Gary's accident site I just happened to meet among a small group of people that had gathered none other then Helmut himsefl! I guess people not so cynical as me might say that the echo's of our shared memories of Gary drew us to that place, that or just plain coincidence anyway. But for whatever reason there we both were, and so both Helmut and I instantly reminisced that ride, our pace along Pescadero, Gary's flowing lines, such was the impact that day had.

    Here's a pic from Alices' at the end of the ride. It was a happy day. Glad I was able to share the memories with you today Helmut.

  11. DixieGirl

    DixieGirl I brake for goats

    Los Gatos
    Ditto, Andy! Gary ALWAYS had a smile on his face and embraced life. I loved teasing him and he would get this biggest little boy blush! We teased each other about our "Green Ninja's" and how I let his greenie be the big guy cuz i didnt want to show him up with my kermit! :laughing
    I have thought of him all day today as I rode home from the Topaz ride! :angel
  12. Andrew

    Andrew This Land is Your Land

    San Jose
    I took my son Ross to a Gary J suspension workshop. The following weekend the forks on every mountain bike we own had been fully rebuilt (by Ross) and were working so much better than when we bought them.

    Other than that, just riding in the rain when it seemed that two or three or four motorcyclists (of which one was always Gary) had the entire world to ourselves.
  13. Raj

    Raj Slow

    San Jose
    Gary J was definitely the most recognized rider in the SC mountains on any given weekend. He dialed in my suspension. I attended his Suspension tuning seminar many years ago and bought the book he wrote. He was always warm, friendly and passionate about riding. The last time I rode with him was a few months ago (the Day Marco Simoncelli crashed and passed) and he was concerned about a possible error that I made during riding. He followed up with an eloquently written private message to ensure that I was safe and was eager to clarify the situation. I remember my first ever track day in 2004 at Laguna Seca, he passed me (with a passenger on the back) with the front wheel in the air.. I was just awestruck. Countless number of street rides with him.. I will miss those...

    Every green ninja 250 will remind me of you..

    Rest in peace Gary..

    Here is a video another SBR member (If I remember correctly) took of Gary.. Smooth 1 handed railing on the prev gen 250

  14. Resinlips

    Resinlips Well-Known Member

    Having never met Gary, I have no stories. Judging from the sentiment in all these recent threads, I have a pretty good idea what I was missing.
    Deepest condolences to all affected by this huge loss. I'll return to this thread many times in hopes of learning more about him.
  15. Submrnr

    Submrnr U.S.N. (Ret.), The Relic

    RIP Gary, you will be forever missed. I'll always remember the ride you, backmarkermike and I had a few months ago. Just the three of us at a very spirited pace then a stop off for a great lunch in Davenport. Nor will I forget the time coming down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca giving it everything I had and you passing me on the outside turned around in the seat and giving me a thumb up approving of my lines. Coming from someone like you it was quite the compliment. As the bay area sportbike community has already shown, you lived your life as a legend here. I often use the word "sublime" to describe when my riding is perfect and everything is coming together. I know you are feeling this now riding in the heavens.
  16. bmk

    bmk Well-Known Member

    Gary has been incredibly generous to me. I always joked with him that I owed him about $27,000 for one-on-one riding lessons, and, considering how many riding lessons he gave me over the last year, that's a pretty good estimate.

    But, I think the story that epitomizes Gary is this one. I'm in the Bay Area for graduate school. All of my family is in Ohio and Florida. Through our conversations this past fall, Gary realized that I would probably be alone on Thanksgiving. So, Gary and Jill invited me to their home for Thanksgiving. We shared a wonderful meal. It was my fifth Thanksgiving away from home, and it was the first one in a long time where I felt that I was surrounded by "family."

    I could write a book about all of the amazing things Gary did for me. Like how he spent most of a Friday evening on September 23rd standing by the side of Cloverdale while I rode back and forth past him, so that he could listen to my shifting. Or how he sat by himself in the rain for an hour on June 4th waiting for me to show up for a ride, because I had a hit a deer on Skyline on the way to our meet. (He then spent another 45 minutes riding around the SC Mountains looking for me, because he couldn't get my phone message on the bike.) Or how he gave up several evenings to fix my bike after the deer crash, to improve the suspension, to adjust the valves, to replace the brake pads, etc.

    But to me, even after all those riding lessons he gave me, after all those incredibly generous things he did, the thing that sticks in my mind is the Thanksgiving I shared with him and Jill, because he didn't want me to be alone.

    I'll never forget that. :mecry
  17. Mehran

    Mehran GroupRides net

    Gary always said:

  18. mnb

    mnb Obliterates Stereotypes

    San Jose
    Five weeks after I bought the F800GS, I went on an SMR ride on a cold, frosty January morning. There was a little ice in some shady areas. That evening I got a PM from GaryJ. Here is most of it:

    That lead group, as we headed up Bonny Doon to Empire and then Jameson was GaryJ (on his 250), Tim (on his red CBR1000 I believe) and myself in a fairly tight group. I was pleased and surprised myself that I was essentially riding their tails. But I wasn't riding over my head, either. There's something about the F8 that just instills confidence. To get that PM, saying what it did, from a rider like GaryJ put a smile on my face that day. :)

  19. Caramia

    Caramia Motorcycle, classic VW, kayaking nut!

    Half Moon Bay, Ca.
    I remember meeting him at STP. I had never met him, but saw him sitting on his Ninja and knew who he was. I just wanted to say hello, and introduced myself. He said, "I know who you are, you are Caramia from SBR!" I was honored and amazed that he knew who I was. He was so sweet, and I am sad that he is gone. I'm so sorry for your loss, Jill. :( Scott and I send lots of love to you in this incredibly difficult time.
  20. zeminsky

    zeminsky Well-Known Member

    Los Gatos
    God gives to every man the virtue, temper, understanding, taste that lifts him into life, and let's him fall in just the niche he was was ordained to fill. Remember that life is neither pain nor pleasure; it is serious business, to be entered upon with courage and in a SPIRIT OF SELF SACRIFICE.-De Toqueville.

    God speed Gary. Prep the tracks for us!
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