RIP...Verlen Kruger, Gardner Martin, Gene Jensen, Bill Murphy...
This was quite a year for outdoor innovators passing away.
*Verlen Kruger. I met Verlen when I was in college. A local plumber, at age 65 he decided to follow his dream. He and his partner paddled all the major waterways of N.A., upstream. He had a physique like a puma-bear. He recently paddled the whole Yukon, at age 80+, with his wife. (They had 9 kids.) He designed an amazing combo canoe/kayak, the Seawind. He promoted rivers hands-on, by paddling them, with grassroots groups, the past 20 years. (Here's the full pic I took years ago, with his record-setting partner Steve Landick.)
*Gardner Martin started and sustained American recumbents and HPV racing (shown here with Greg and Fred) with his Easy Racers company. He's the only HPV-maker who said "YES!" every time I called, no matter what it was about.
*Gene Jensen was the father of today's efficient cruising canoes and US racing canoe design. He invented the bent-shaft paddle and started the use of kevlar in canoes.
*Bill Murphy was den-keeper for the amazing Skunkworks lab in Chicago that created the winning WISIL Missile HPV, which I now ride, along with many other HPV innovations at WISIL.
Darn, it's hard to imagine pushing barriers past where these guys left off, but that's what they would've wanted.