Richard’s Story

Richard Tom was the most devoted and passionate ambassador to cycling many have ever known. The Richard Tom Foundation was formed following the tragic loss of Richard when he was struck by a speeding vehicle near his home in Vermont on a peaceful Sunday morning, April 26, 2015. Richard was beloved by many in the Vermont cycling community, because of his genuine warmth, thoughtfulness and passion to inspire and motivate cyclists of all disciplines and ages.

Richard had an incredibly positive influence on countless cyclists, young and old, novice to expert, mountain bikers, road bikers and anyone with an interest in cycling. His extraordinary impact on our cycling community was clearly represented just a week after his passing when more than 400 cyclists participated in the "Ride For Richard" in Hinesburg. The purpose of the ride was to celebrate Richard's life and profound legacy in the Vermont cycling community, as well as to create a unity of cyclists of all disciplines and ages. To read the news story click here.

Richard's compassion and generosity were behind everything he did. His eyes lit up and his smile broadened in any conversation about cycling. Since moving from his home state of Alabama in 1993, Richard spent 20+ years as a professional bike tour leader and mechanic with Vermont Bicycle Touring and as a retail manager at Earl’s Cyclery. Both as a professional in the industry and as a devoted friend, Richard motivated, inspired, supported and touched countless lives. He shared the wealth of his cycling knowledge and connections and access to "schwag" with anyone possible. He gave bikes to kids who otherwise would not have one. You needed a jersey, he gave you three. You needed a water bottle, he gave you five. You needed a spoke, he gave you a wheel. Saddles, socks, shoes, streamers, bike bells, bike parts - you name it, he gave it – and then some. You had a quick question, he gave you an hour. You asked for a recommendation, he’d send you 5 links to products with comparisons on each. Conversely, if you ever gave him anything, he was like a kid in a candy store and forever grateful. The advice, encouragement, and support he gave were limitless. Whether by email, Facebook, phone call, visit, or text, Richard always responded reliably and unconditionally. His intense love for cycling and connecting with people was paramount to who he was.

Although he could have risen in the ranks as a professional cyclist, Richard chose community and adventure first and simply LOVED riding with friends of all levels and disciplines. He had the talent to ride with anyone in the fastest of pacelines or was just as happy riding on a quiet road with a friend new to cycling, coaching on hill climbing or spinning on the flats. He always prioritized safety both for himself and friends – road riding, mountain biking, fat tire biking - it didn’t matter. Whether it was using turn signals, pointing out hazards, or taking breaks when needed, Richard’s primary goal was the well-being of others. His fun factor was ever-present. He’d stop when there was a story to tell, or he’d put down the hammer when there was one to put down. Whoever, wherever, whenever it was, Richard genuinely made everyone feel like a superstar. “No stress, no egos” was one of his frequently shared mottos. “No worries” was spoken multiple times a day with Richard. Most of all, riding his bike was sheer joy and

happiness. It was his way of life and a way to share life. He was truly the most dedicated, healthiest and inspiring ambassador of cycling many of us have ever known, and will always remember.


The Richard Tom Foundation (RTF)

Mission Statement (link to mission statement on website).

Richard Tom has created momentum in such a way that it is impossible to let go. No one individual alone could maintain the momentum and positive influence he had on others in the cycling community. To that end, the Richard Tom Foundation was formed and the Board of Directors is committed to keeping Richard’s legacy alive.

As the Board continues to raise funds to support our mission, events, programs and partnerships will be organized to carry on his legacy. The mission of the Richard Tom Foundation is to honor the many ways that Richard lived his life with passion and sharing his love of cycling, health, and adventure. RTF is dedicated to creating resources and activities so that non-cyclists may discover the fun and health benefits of cycling while also encouraging cyclists of all ages to experience the adventure, camaraderie, and sense of well-being that come with exploring Vermont roads and trails.

As Richard’s powerful legs reliably spun his pedals on trails and roads of all kinds, RTF will continue to spin his legacy forward, powered by the inspiration he infused in each of us.

The Board’s goals and objectives, as we continue to raise funds, include:

  • Organizing an annual ride in the spring to raise money for RTF by bringing together mountain and road bikers in an event to inspire all to ride safely and have fun.
  • Supporting and partnering with existing organizations such as Local Motion, Little Bellas and GMBC - to advocate for bike safety as well as making biking available to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to own a bike.
  • Supporting driver’s education programs with emphasis on instilling the awareness of the enormous responsibility that each new driver assumes when getting behind the wheel of a car, and the consequences that a simple decision may have on their and others’ lives.
  • Creating a program by gathering bicycles and bicycle accessories and giving them away to youth via an application program. The goal of this program will be to encourage young people to ride bikes and discover its many inherent benefits: joy, adventure, good health and well-being.