Velominati › Not Forgotten: Jon Lennard, aka @itburns

In memory of our lost friend, Jon Lennard aka @itburns.

Not Forgotten: Jon Lennard, aka @itburns

by frank / Aug 11 2014 / 49 posts

I bought a Road ID the day I learned of Jon Lennard’s death on August 12, 2013. Someone in the posts of the original announcement of his passing (below) mentioned he was identified by his Road ID. Of course he had a Road ID. What I knew of him made that perfect. So responsible and sensible.

The nature of this community is a strange thing; we don’t know each other by name, just by the handle we use. We are as anonymous as we choose to be. I only knew Jon’s real name because we’d emailed each other and he’d sent me a copy of Merckx 525 for Christmas. We were, without knowing each other formally, friends. At Velominati, I was always happy to see his crazy Avatar show up, that ridiculous image of Gollum in a Giro helmet. Who thinks of this stuff? Only @itburns. He and his spirit helped shape this community, like many others have. His voice stood out in the for his good nature, willingness to stir things up in a fun way, and always fostering a collegial atmosphere in the midst of controversy.

He was living La Vie Velominatus, throttle wide open. He was Rule #43 embodied .

Someone told me he was wearing his V-Kit; I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but the idea that he was wearing it at the time of his death chills my blood. I am honored beyond words that he wore it into his last moment but I’m ashamed that we weren’t strong enough to better protect him. The first death in V-Kit. It is a horrible thing that words can’t describe.

We all risk so much when we ride; we are at the mercy of the traffic around us, one moment’s inattention and it’s over. Jon’s death didn’t stop me riding, but it has me thinking of him every time I swing my leg over a top tube. This could be my last ride. Either make sure it isn’t, or make sure it’s worth it.

I miss you @itburns; I’m happy every time I see one of your old posts pop up in the archives. I will ride my bike tomorrow, on August 12, the anniversary of your passing, and I will think of you again. I’ll never forget you, my friend.

When you ride today, remember that this could be your last ride. Either make sure it isn’t, or make sure it’s worth it.

Vive la Vie Velominatus, and go with Merckx, my brothers and sisters.

He also has a Facebook Group set up by his friends that gets regular updates on friends reminding us of how awesome he was. Check it out: Shuttle’s Velominati Hall of Fame.

Each of us throw a leg over our top tubes and submit ourselves to the open road in recognition of the risks involved. These risks include those of a puncture, crash, damaged equipment, disability, and – ultimately – death. We try to be vigilant, we ride assertively yet defensively, and we hope for the best. We take every reasonable precaution to ensure we return home to ride again another day.

Longstanding community member Jon Lennard, known here as @itburns, will sadly not have that opportunity. Jon lost his life on August 12, 2013 at approximately 7:30pm while riding his bike in Houston, Texas. As of this writing, details are sparse, but the Houston Chronicle reports that he was hit in an intersection by a vehicle, and thrown violently from his bicycle.

People say online interactions lack a personal connection, and for the most part, they are right. But Velominati somehow seems to bridge that gap. We rarely meet one another, but somehow we bond, and we become what can only be characterized as friends. The loss I feel – and that I know Brett, Gianni, and Marko each felt as the news spread amongst the Keepers – suggests that this bond of friendship truly exists. We have lost not only a community member and Velominatus, but a friend.

Jon was what we characterize as a Pedalwan. He was relatively new to Cycling, and lapped up the knowledge, wisdom, and lessons that this community has become so good at providing. He asked questions, gave advice, and always delivered everything he said with a fantastic sense of humor. He was the picture-perfect example of living La Vie Velominatus. I am proud that our community appealed to him because he was exactly the kind of person we want to appeal to.

A few additional words:

@Bretto:

Although I never met Jon, he was a huge part of our community and this news has left me feeling sick to the stomach. I can’t begin to imagine how devastated his friends and family are at this time.

Jon, under his moniker @itburns, always seemed upbeat and positive with valuable input to any and every topic he participated in. He was a true Velominatus and will be genuinely missed around here. When I look at his palmares, the similarities between Jon and myself are many, which makes me think we would’ve gotten on famously; it also reminds me how very mortal each and every one of us are.

My condolences go out to his loved ones, and while this is a tragedy of terrible proportions, it is some small consolation that he died doing what he loved. RIP, VLVV Jon.

@Gianni:

This is sad and strange. We have lost a fellow Velominatus. He died in the saddle. We all have made friends on the site, most we have never met. How is that possible? We have conversations and arguments about bikes, cycling and life yet we don’t ever see each others faces, but we are still friends. If any of us had ever been stranded in Houston, @itburns, Jon Lennard, would have helped us out. To us he will always be known as a friend and Velominatus. Rest in peace. VLVV.

@Marko:

If I were to rattle off the first five or so community members that spring to mind, @itburns (Jon as we’ve come to know him now) would most likely be one of them. He’s an old timer around here and has been posting long enough to have become part of the ether of Velominati. His contributions were thoughtful, pleasant, supportive, and always furthered our discussion. I wish his untimely death wasn’t the impetus for us to learn more about him. Turns out he and I would have surely had other fun discussions about guitars, Metal, and kayaking as well. Maybe Jon’s passing will encourage us all to appreciate each other a bit more and know that there’s much more than cycling than we all have in common. Go with Merckx, brother, and thank you.

His childhood friend, Ron Willis, who kindly made us aware of the news:

Jon was smart as fuck and wasn’t kidding about the OCD… dude had his way (the only way) of doing things! Used to laugh my ass off watching him dick with his snowboard bindings EVERY day for half an hour on our ski trips. Can’t imagine what that bike went through.

Our biggest argument about things cycling – he thought “Dutch hill” work was the same as hill work (gravity bitch!)

Our second biggest argument – buy some fucking Zipps you cheap bastard!

Really gonna miss him.

Our deepest, heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones. We have marked the date of his death on the Velominati Cogal Calendar. Let us take a breath and acknowledge it could just as well have been us. Be safe, and always come home to ride another day.

We’ll miss you, Jon.

Jonathan King Lennard

Dec 24, 1965 – Aug 12, 2013

Single, no kids

BS Aerospace Engineering, Texas, 1988

Part owner of Software company that does contract work for Shell Oil.

Musician (bass and guitar)

Walking encyclopedia of all things rock ‘n roll

Avid reader (a lot of science fiction, Asimov, etc)

Beer/Spirits/Coffee – no expense spared for the best.

Early on: skate, surf, kayak

Later: cycling and snowboarding

Update: Some community members have been sharing photos. We’ll keep updating this as we get more.

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