I just learned that the legendary Jobst Brandt succumbed yesterday at age 80 after a long struggle with his deteriorating health.
We weren’t friends, but I’d run into Jobst in his blue jersey (polypro, not wool) and his freakishly large bike (custom made Tom Ritchey 10-speed, six-speed cogs are too prone to failure, painted yellow because cracks are easier to see) during his Highway 9 rides and we’d talk. And oh how he loved his own opinion on every topic. Yeah, he was a little bit full of himself, but he also knew his stuff and he was mostly a likeable guy. One person famously described him as “not opinionated; he was correct.”
Jobst wrote the book on bicycle wheelbuilding. Some Internet and Usenet old-timers will recall how he held court on every cycling-related topic over at rec.bicycles.
Locally, Jobst was famous for leading insanely punishing off-road adventure rides all around the Bay Area with road bikes forty years before gravel riding became a marketing category. Among those who joined Jobst on these epic rides was local cycling author Ray Holser, who pens his own short obituary of Jobst’s long life here.
As he would say: “Ride bike!”
Jobst always seemed to be the type who would go on forever. A tip of my cycling cap to him.
Sarah’s love for the Dolomites in Italy (her favorite place in the world, so far) can be attributed or blamed on Jobst. We had planned a tour riding across Italy from Venice, past the major lakes in ‘Lake Country’ (Garda, Como, Lugano, and Maggiore) then loop around and head back. As we were getting ready to leave Sarah saw the exhibition of Jobst’s photos at Palo Alto Bicycles and decided we HAD to climb over Passo dello Stelvio, so we routed through the Dolomites to get to Stelvio and then across the nothern Italian Alps to get to the ‘Lake Country’.
One of my personal memories of Jobst is from a day we were climbing Page Mill. Due to allergies I was occasionally clearing my throat. At on point Jobst turned his head back to look at me and told me, sternly’ ‘no grunting’. Since then we have used that as a general saying to mean ‘suck it up and just do it’ no matter how difficult the task.
I never met Jobst, but as a frequent participant in the rec.bicycles newsgroup in the ’80s and ’90s, I feel like I knew at least a little bit of his personality, and what I knew, I liked. I’m sorry to learn of his passing, but thanks for letting your readers know.