Tom Veljic at a climate change ride he helped organize.
Tom Veljic at a climate change ride he helped organize.

Tom Veljic didn’t live in Tucson for a long time, but he made a big impact on those he met and on the projects he worked on.

According to friend, Veljic, a dedicated transportation cyclist, died in a car crash near El Paso, Texas on Dec. 26.

I’ve been un able to track down a police report, but apparently he was on his way to Arizona to visit family and friends when the crash occurred.

Veljic moved to Tucson in mid 2010 looking for work at a planner, which was his profession, but could never land anything permanent.

He worked part time for There and Back Bikes and then became a Pima County Bicycle Ambassador and spent a lot of time working on Loop projects.

He left Tucson in May and bounced around a bit.

I met Tom when I responded to an add he paced on Craiglist selling his Long Haul Trucker frame, which I purchased and am riding today.

He was a cyclist who always had a kind word and would lend a helping hand. He’ll be missed in the cycling community.

11 thoughts on “Dedicated cyclist Tom Veljic killed in December car crash”
  1. Such sad news.  I had the good fortune to know Tom and remember sharing many a conversation about his beloved Surly bikes and other bike related topics.  Very gentle soul.  Even though he had moved to the Spokane area, he is missed here in Tucson.
    Tom, R.I.P.

  2. I didn’t know Tom, but I bought the bike in the picture from him right before he left Tucson. He seemed like a nice guy, honest and straightforward. Sad news indeed.

  3. A sad day. I had the pleasure of working with Tom and his energy was infectious. When he left town he was riding high on life and I will remember him with that energy.

  4. I’ve known Tom since the early 2000s when he would periodically come into Tucson mainly to ride bikes and visit friends. He loved Tucson and wanted to move here and was always very friendly and outgoing. I got to know Tom a lot better after he moved here and signed on as an Ambassador, plus with his planning skills we hired him under a separate contract to help us with rides and special events, The Loop, the planned velodrome, and other projects.
    He was a tremendous advocate, good friend and all around talented guy. We sure miss him and the cycling community has lost a true champion–many happy rides wherever you are Tom!

  5. I knew Tom slightly, and more as a musician than a cyclist. I had given him a couple of fiddle lessons when he still lived in Phoenix and he came to listen to my band play on several occasions. I took cycling shortly before he moved to Tucson and In fact, we had planned to go for a ride together but it never worked out.  I am shocked and saddened to see this news.

  6. A service to commemorate Toms life and his passion for cycling, coffee, community and music will be held at Bergies Coffee Roast House in Gilbert Arizona. Services will be held this Sunday February 10th from 1:00 to 3:00 and is open to anyone who would like to attend. Bring photos if you have them for a scrapbook.  We all want to honor the man, the friend, the cyclist and the gentle soul that had an impact on our lives and our community.
    Bergies Coffee Roast House
    Sunday 2.10.2013
    From 1:00 p.m – 3:00 p.m. 
    309 N Gilbert Road
    Gilbert, AZ 85234
    (480) 497-3913

  7. Tom was a very good friend, met him in 2004; and we became fast friends. Tom and I shared one last ride Thanksgiving Day, a cold day in Rochester, NY. He will be missed.

  8. Just learned of Tom’s passing today, made my knees buckle. He was a much loved advocate and friend here in Spokane. A fun and funny guy. friend Libby Ward here tells me that we are going to have a gathering in his honor in the future month or so. Been shaking my head all day. a heavy heart for a passionate cyclist. Drive safely Amigos. Michael Conley in Spokane bikeaudi-at-gmail-dot-com

  9. The photo is from the Connect 2 Tucson ride on Sept. 24, 2011, and I don’t know how that event could have happened without Tom. He jumped in with both feet and attended every organizing meeting. He was the only one on the team with experience running group rides. He scouted the route many times over, mapped it, and kept us on track on practical matters throughout the planning. Tom saw biking for what it is– simply the best way to get around. I sure wish he’d found the kind of job he wanted here in Tucson and become a permanent part of our cycling community. Thanks, Tom, and peace be with you.

  10. We just learned of Tom’s passing today. We have been keepig in touch with Tom (or really he has with us) over many years since Louis worked with him in Spokane 20 + years ago.  Tom was a great friend to us.  He threw a wonderrful baby shower for us 15 years ago, complete with live fiddlinig music, great barbeque and many friends.  Such an energetic and kind soul.  Such a great loss to all who knew and loved Tom.
    Elaine Webster

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