In all the writing I’ve done about Stan over these past few days, until I saw the picture above I’d forgotten about the hammy side of Stan. He was a diffident serious guy but he could be quite boisterous, enthusiastic and even boyish especially regarding his enthusiasms. This is definitely his hammy side.
I’m trying to use this blog as a repository for collective thoughts and memories of Stan Oldak, my friend who was killed by a hit and run driver on a 400K Brevet bike ride in Columbus, TX last Sunday morning. E-mails are pouring in from folks who rode with him in Texas that day and from as far away as Juneau, AK, where Stan provided pediatric dental treatment to native peoples through the Indian Health Service. I’ll just quote from them as I get them. This is from Mark Lane, who rode on Stan’s last ride and lives near Columbus:
Chris Barbee, editor of El Campo Leader News. He wants to do a news story about Stan, bicycle riding and safety, and an in-depth report on Stan’s accident. The report should appear in three local papers…
Thanks to you all [ed. for pictures Mark had requested for the above article]. The pictures will work well. In addition to our local newspaper, emails were sent to contacts at most of the newspaper and TV organizations (see below) in South Texas by Lorretta Crosby requesting coverage of the Ride of Silence on May 16 in memory of Stan. This ride will be in Columbus, Tx where Stan was killed. You can get details of the ride at http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php
I rode with Stan most of the day on Saturday. The weather was partly cloudy, very windy (naturally), with fields of wild flowers as far as you could see. Reba G. was with us and was chanting “Stan the Man” all day long. As I observed him while riding and resting, I saw peace and contentment in his face. He would be looking across the countryside with a slight grin, not talking, maybe remembering.
Anyone who sees this or other articles or news coverage about Stan, please let me know (links would be great too).
I’m trying to prepare a story on Dr. Oldak and the people whose lives he touched here in Southeast Alaska. I came across your blog, and the nice things you had to say. Just wondering if you had some time to chat.
Thanks for your time!
Korry Keeker, reporter, Juneau Empire
From Lorretta Crosby, who also shared Stan’s last ride. She provides details on the Ride of Silence in honor of Stan the Man on this coming Wednesday, May 16th:
Our team spends many hours advocating for the rights of cyclists to share the road, we are happy to do whatever we can to bring attention to Stan’s story. I have read countless Blogs about his passion for cycling and it is heartbreaking that his love for this sport ended this way. I have contacted all paper media from Houston To Columbus and all local TV stations in Houston. I am hopeful that we can get the story covered, preferably on TV. I agree with your blog that Stan’s life deserves a name to the driver. It’s unfortunate that he did not stop but I believe in my heart that all humans have a conscious and if the driver were to hear this story he/she would come forward. I have pressed that upon the outlets that I have contacted. You were blessed to have such a long friendship with a man that was obviously admired by so many! My team mate, Reba is copied on this email as she rode with your friend most of the day. Reba – did you take any pictures with Stan during the ride that you can share with his friend Richard?
The Ride of Silence will start from Town Square in Columbus, Texas at 7:00 p.m. and will travel a 9 mile loop past the accident site. We have invited cyclists from all over Houston & surrounding areas to join us. The ride will be kept to a pace of less than 12 mph and riders are asked to wear a black arm band in memory of Stan.
Take comfort that your friend is at peace and hold tight to your incredible journeys you had with him! We will do our best to honor him properly.
I’m also pleased to hear that Lorretta’s powers of persuasion have persuaded the Columbus newspaper to cover the Ride of Silence:
I spoke with Cyndi at the Colorado County Citizen and she has agreed to publish a picture and story regarding the Ride of Silence. However, it will publish after the ride and I will supply the photo. Unfortunately, this is small town Texas newspaper and the print schedule of this paper is only once a week so the story will print after the ride – but at least it keeps the story in Columbus where it happened. I’ll keep pressing for better coverage from Houston.
From Peter O’Reilly of the New York Cycle Club, this link to a gallery of Stan pictures:
Another NYCC club member, Ed White, put together a collection of Stan Oldak photos. They are quite nice.
This from Jeff Terosky, president of the New York Cycle Club:
I just listed a Ride of Silence in NYC based on others suggestions. We are going to do a lap of the park, for Stan and for David Oliner who sufffered a massive heart attack on one of our club rides in April.
Here is what Jeff posted on the Ride of Silence site:
Join us on Wednesday, May 16th at 7PM at the Columbus Circle entrance of Central Park (Merchants’ Gate) where we will depart to ride a single, silent lap of Central Park to honor recently fallen NYCC members Stan Oldak and David Oliner.
I’m expecting more stories from others in the coming days so check back here to follow the Stan Saga.
Mike Bronson says
On Saturday, May 5th I served lunch to the randonneurs in Cistern, Tx. Cistern is a junction in the rode about 15-20 miles from several of the small Texas towns that dot the hill country of Texas. Stan, Reba and Mark rode down the 2 mile stretch of road leading up to Cistern a little before 1:00 pm. The road leading up to Cistern is wide open and I could see them coming the whole two miles. The ride was mostly down hill and the riders were moving at a good pace. There was with a fourth rider from California riding the 600 km along with Stan when they arrived in Cistern. Stan, Mark and Reba were riding the 400 km ride. The four riders ate lunch and talked about the different routes they were taking. The owner of the Cistern Country Store welcomed every rider into his establishment and allowed them to use the facilities to cool off and prepare for the next stage of the ride. If you ever get a chance to stop in the little hole-in-the-wall town of Cistern, say hi to the owner and support his store. He provides good ole country hospitality.
Another group bicycle riders, about 800, were on a ride from Austin, Texas to Shiner, Texas, The riders from the two groups crossed paths in Cistern. The Shiner ride was just finishing in Cistern just after Stan arrived at the rest stop for lunch. The Shiner truck pulled up to the four riders and offered assistance and then proceeded on after a short pleasant conversation about the two rides.
Stan and the three other riders enjoyed a lunch of oranges, sandwiches made from fresh homemade bread my wife, June, had baked for the riders the night before and cookies. All four riders exchanged best wishes as the split up to finish there respective rides. They filled up their containers with water and electrolye replacement fluids and journeyed down Jeddo Road toward Lockhart for the 400 km ride or Texas 95 for the 600 km ride.
I packed up, as this was the last group and headed back to Austin, Tx to pick up some equipment for my son, Jim, and our scheduled meeting in Columbus, TX. It was a pleasure to meet Stan. From all I have read, I wish I had the chance to know him better.
As an Aside, I drive through the Columbus, Texas area at least once a week. If you can design a poster from the blog that I can provide to the stores in the area, I have permission from several owners of the stores at to post a poster asking for help to find the hit and run driver. The people I have talked to in Ellinger and Columbus think it is a terrible tragedy that the driver did not stop. They are willing to help spread the word and identify the driver of the flat bed truck.
My prayers are with the family and friends of Stan. May God Bless you all in your time of grief. I pray that this message is of comfort to all of Stan’s friends and loved ones.
Richard Silverstein says
Stan Oldak was well respected and well liked as a Pediactric Dentist as well as friend. He loved traveling to the villages for the kids and he loved the outdoors. Alaska is a very big change from his life in Manhattan. He loved it all. We will miss him. I will miss him. Thank you Richard for keep him alive in our hearts.