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Devian Gilbert Honored with Golden Helmet Award

10/7/11 update: After working in Sonoma County from April to October, Devian is now back in Monterey County.  Welcome home, Devian!

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Congratulations also to Silver Helmet Award Winner Diego Liberczuk.  To read about Diego, and more about Devian, please visit the TAMC site.

Devian Gilbert is an endurance cyclist and passionate bicycle life stylist.  Formerly of Fresno, and a veteran of the United States Army, Devian has been based in Monterey since 1993.

Sometimes he wears a Velo Club Monterey jersey and tears up the road with the best local roadies.  Other times he shows his MORCA stripes, confidently tackling the trails at Fort Ord and elsewhere with Monterey Off Road Cycling Association friends.

And sometimes he glides along the bikeways alone at night, enjoying the quiet and the night sky as he gets where he wants to go.  That’s where I met him, some years ago.   Living car-free in Monterey County, Devian models for others the good life of cycling–models it with humility and fervor.

Devian extends a friendly welcome to others cycling on his home turf, be they locals or visitors.  Along with two other Velo Monterey members, he guided and boosted a five-passenger bicycle–three of those passengers were low-powered ages 3, 5, and 7–plus a load of cargo that accompanied the family (Harrisons, AKA Pedouins) from Kentucky to Alaska.

Photo courtesy of Steve E. Anderson

While the assistance to the Pedouins was a gift to these travelers, Devian’s life’s work revolves around bicycles and includes serving as a bike sherpa, tour guide, mobile bike mechanic, and more.

A United Bicycle Institute/UBI Certified Bicycle Technician, Certified Technician in Suspension Technology, and Certified Advanced Wheel Builder for over a decade now, Devian’s mechanic skills are renowned.

In 2010, he challenged himself by tackling the self-supported Tour Divide, racing along the ridge of the Continental Divide in what’s accurately called the “ultimate test of endurance.”  Death is a definite risk of this 2,745 mile race–the longest off-road mountain bike route in the world–and, in fact, one of his fellow challengers met that fate on the 2010 Tour Divide.  Perhaps it was Devian’s being grounded in yogic traditions (his own company is Asana Cycles) that helped him to recognize when it was time to back off.  He returned safely to Monterey County after completing over 1,000 miles in seven days.

Devian lives “The Way of the Bicycle.”  Talk with him about biking, and his words often tumble out rapid-fire.  You’ll likely learn something new, and you’re sure to see biking is the fuel that keeps him cooking.

An affectionate nickname, Devo, is appropriate, given his devotion to a bicycle lifestyle and all that it means.  He’s quick to share his experience to benefit others, whether it’s serving as a guide and mechanic for seasonal training camps or offering bike-and-ride tips for cyclists using the train.

The last time I saw Devian was April 15, when I visited with him and his friend Meredith at the Monterey History and Maritime Museum.  They were among celebrants at the after-party for the world premiere of Pedal-Driven.  Ten days later, my friend Sandi Laney gave me the surprising–and sad for Monterey County–news:  Devian had moved on.

Though the move came as a surprise to me, when Sandi said Devian had taken a job with a bike company, I was not surprised.  Knowing he had again coordinated Ride with a Pro for the Sea Otter Classic April 14-17, along with serving as coordinator for Sea Otter’s new Dealer Days program, it made sense that some wise bike company would notice and snatch him!  Had I read this blog post, I might have sensed it coming.

Devian Gilbert wasn’t here on April 27 to accept his Golden Helmet Award from the Board of Directors of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County.  It was accepted on his behalf by friends.

Devian was off to a new bike adventure, enticed from beautiful Monterey County to work for Volagi Cycles, whose company slogan is “The will to go.”

Seems it worked on Devian.  He’s gone!–from one beautiful place to another.  He now makes his home in Sonoma County.

  1. Dave Gutierrez says:

    Great post on Devian. He truly is a legend with the cycling community of this area. He will be missed but I know that most of us are really happy for him that he found personal happiness with the folks at Volagi.

  2. Beautiful article Mari and you did an exceptional job portraying the essense of Devian. Everyone who passes through Devo’s life is a better person because of that connection.

  3. thank you to everyone
    it’s taken me some time to figure myself out…
    then to resolve to stick to it
    it’s really quite simple
    I love bikes
    somehow… the world has come to need/recognize
    a knowledge of cycling is becoming an American Skill set
    Honestly… I never thought I’d see the day
    everyday I’m amazed that this is what I do
    who I am…

  4. Yahoo! What an inspiration to really do what you love.

  5. Devian is an inspiration. Through his life choice to make cycling the center of his life he reminds us all that there are other practical ways to move about on this beautiful planet. His recent move to Petaluma is not really a move away from Monterey as it is a new journey and adventure for him, and his re-affirmation of his unwavering belief that humanity is soulful, fun and always ready for a bike ride. Cheers to Devian. Our paths will cross again.

    Matthew Sundt

  6. Past Due, my friend! Congratulations! I’ve known you since you were a kid; you’ve stayed true to your cycling roots, all these decades. So happy for the Public Honor!! With affection, Lynne

  7. Thanks, Mari for your article about Devian. He is a unique personality and we will miss him in our club. I hope that the job will suit his free and imaginative spirit, he has certainly found his calling working for a bicycle company.

  8. Deborah Warcken says:

    Great article, Mari, and congrats again, Devian!

  9. Ed Lohmann says:

    Devian, thanks for the joy of riding that you always give to all and keep smiling, because if you don’t, no one will recognize you.

  10. Helmets off to you Devian! I know this a dream opportunity for you and am glad you “went for it!” Thanks for all your encouragement along the many rides I have seen you on.

  11. michael burke says:

    great article on a great person!

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