Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Rider Profile and Tribute: Rick Kunkle, 1962 - 2017

On March 3, 2017 Rick Kunkle died at age 55 of a rare form of brain cancer. His most recent commuting bike has every BCC sticker going back to 2000. We are pretty sure Rick rode in just about every Bicycle Commuter Contest since it began thirty years ago. He commuted on his bicycle year round for most of his life. It was just one of the ways he lived his convictions of the importance of living lightly and sustainably.
His love of bicycling started early.  His first large purchase which he saved and saved for was a ten speed bike.  He also gathered old bikes and parts to build his sister a bike. He was always very thorough in cleaning, working on the brakes and gears or getting professional tune ups.
For over 30 years Rick commuted to the Washington State Energy Office and later the Washington State University Energy Program where he worked as a research engineer to study and improve energy efficiency programs in Washington State and around the country.
Rick's particular passion was understanding and strengthening the capacity of people and organizations to adopt and operate efficient practices, policies and technologies. He was a prolific researcher working on projects ranging from the Commute Trip Reduction Program, New Commercial Construction, Residential Energy Codes, Low Income Weatherization and Public Sector Building Operations (to name just a few). His work was practical and results oriented.
Bicycle commuting is a Kunkle family affair: Rick's wife Anne, son Aaron and daughter Claire are all bicycle commuters (Anne and Aaron are signed up in the BCC on Team Kunkle Homes First and Claire lives out of state).
Rick was a planner – and one of his plans was to volunteer with local affordable housing organizations on retirement. Out of this concern friends, family and coworkers decided it would be a fitting memorial for Rick to form a BCC team in his name and use the opportunity to raise funds for affordable housing. Team Kunkle teamed up with Homes First, a local organization providing housing support to the most vulnerable in the community. Team Kunkle – Homes First is accepting sponsorships, pledges per team member, per mile ridden or general donations. So far we have raised over $1000 for Homes First and ridden nearly 900 miles.
If you’re not already on a team, you can join Anne, Aaron, and Rick's friends and co-workers for one last BCC with Rick.  The team is open to anyone who would like to join – no matter if you pledge or whether you ride 1 day or 32 days. Rick was like that.
If you’re already on a team and would like donate to Homes First – the Team Kunkle Homes First Challenge is at

Or better yet give the team a challenge, Rick was a little competitive too. Rick would be pleased.
If you have questions or a challenge for the team please  contact Vince Schueler at   Schuelerv@energy.wsu.edu


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