The New Orleans bicycle…
community recently lost one of its beloved bicyclist. Originally from Washington state, Darren’s first encounter with New Orleans was in 2013 when he attended Bike! Bike!
Bike!Bike! is an international, annual gathering organized by and for community bicycle projects. Via the very missed New Orleans community bike project, Plan B, the city had the honor of hosting this international gathering.
While here Darren was very impressed with the emerging cycling community. He fell in love with the city and its bike culture, leading to a decision to move here not long after. Being the quality bicycle mechanic that he was, his decision to move here can be seen as a bench mark of how far New Orleans bike culture had come.
When Darren moved to New Orleans he made huge contributions in advancing the bicycle as a viable means of transport. He became a volunteer at Rubarb, the community bike shop in the 9th Ward. At Rubarb he not only spent time teaching adults how to fix their bikes. He taught children, the next generation of New Orleans bike commuters.
Aside from his work at Rubarb, Darren set up a shop in the back yard of his apartment. He named it the Bike Swamp. It was the most beloved bicycle mechanic shop in Downtown New Orleans. Darren was essentially a genius. There was no bike problem that he couldn’t solve. He quickly gained the reputation of the guy you brought your bike to when the local bike shop gave up on it.
Darren also made a living as a pedicab driver at Need a Ride. Of course he became their lead mechanic. He was also a free lance bike mechanic at Flambeaux Tours, along with other ventures that he pursued.
Darren’s passing came as a surprise to some. He kept his illness secret because he didn’t want others to worry about him. That’s just the kind of person he was. He put others before himself. When you encountered Darren he had a smile that could light up a room. It was a smile that let you know that Darren loved you. He was soft spoken, generous, and full of compassion.
When he passed, a memorial bike ride was organized and was attended by friends and family. The amount of people that attended the ride, was but a small sign of how big Darren’s heart was. He will be remembered by every life that he touched.
When we look to the morning sun coming up over the Mississippi River we will remember his smile. As we look up over the mystic moon gleaming over the historic landscape of our city will see the sparkle in his eyes. And as we cycle against the high wind coming off the river we will feel the warmth of Darren’s love embracing us.
Long live the Bike Swamp! Darren Knox Present!