Losing one of our own – Gary W. Bunting, trike pilot
Gary Bunting riding the CCTE in 2011
I have just learned that fellow overland triker Gary W. Bunting has passed away. For those of you who have been reading Trike Asylum since 2010, you may recall Gary as an avid recumbent triker who participated in the 2011 Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition (CCTE) and also on a ride along the northern Oregon coast in 2014. Gary was a retired aerospace engineer, who was born, raised, and spent his life in southern California. In addition to spending considerable time in the cockpit of his two trikes, a Catrike Road and a Catrike 700, Gary loved his time spent as a pilot in the sky, in his 1989 Cuby Sport Trainer fixed wing single engine airplane, which he kept at a local airstrip near his home in Alta Loma, California. It was an experimental aircraft that Gary built up himself. Gary’s nickname was Cubmeister.
Gary was proud of his personal airplane, and loved flying whenever he could.
When asked why he took up recumbent tricycle riding, Gary told me: “Upright riding causes too much pain in my hands, wrists, forearms and neck – headaches often ensue. The seat on an upright now causes me too much discomfort in the ‘nether regions’. I can ride the trike for much longer distances without feeling the need to rest, even in an ‘out-of-shape’ physical condition – much more comfortable overall. Plus…there is a feeling of being seated in a Formula 1 race car – I LIKE IT!!!”
Gary pedals his Catrike Road and trailer through Crater Lake National Park in 2011.
GARY’S CYCLING INTERESTS AND TIMELINE: “As with most, I had a trike when really small, graduated to two-wheelers and then to a contraption called a ‘Doodlebug’ that my parents had bought for my brother and me (I was never able to get the feeling of speeding along the ground, so close to it and so fast above it, out of my blood). It was a dark orange, 4-wheel (double cone centers with hard rubber tires), a center, square tube that the front (foot steerable) and rear (solid -bolted to the frame) axles were attached to. To propel the thing, you had a handle that sat in front of the one-person seat, that you pushed and pulled which in turn, operated an eccentric drive mechanism connected to and turning both rear wheels. You could really get moving with this thing, well over child running speeds. This contraption is the root of human locomotion appeal that eventually led me in my adulthood, to the trike, with many uprights and diamond frames in between. I began serious bicycle touring with upper quality machines, in the middle 70’s, when I learned what it meant to ride 75-100 miles loaded (the bike-not me) per day, camping most of the way. Now, after having raised my son as a single parent, I am too old for the ‘Up-Wrongs’ and the aches and pains that riding them all day, bring. So…Now I’m into trikes for comfortable, not-too-fast, long-distance touring (without the pain) and am trying to get back into shape that will allow at least 50-mile days loaded, pulling a trailer.”
David Massey and Gary Bunting setting out on a southern California day ride
GARY’S PAST LIFESTYLES: “Family Machine Shop Brat (learned a lot from my Dad in those days – peaked my interests in materials, mechanics and engineering, not to mention in aircraft that we made a lot of parts for); Chaffee College – Associate of Science/Associate of Arts; BYU Alumni – Undergraduate – Science/Business; SIU Alumni – Undergraduate – Industrial Technology; USAF C-130 Aircraft Maintenance/Flying Crew Chief/Troop Transport Aircraft Maintenance Technician – Vietnam Era Veteran. Past engineering employee of Xerox, General Dynamics, Lockheed Aircraft Corp., McDonnell Douglas (Senior Engineering Scientist on the Space Station Freedom Program – very privileged work), AAI-ACL Technologies, Smiths Aerospace and various other companies that I contracted with as a Senior Engineering Technical Writer for the last 10-years of my work history. I was a professional jazz and popular music musician for a good many years of my youth, up through my college days – that was fun and lucrative for a time. I am now a private pilot and aircraft-owner, although I don’t fly much now with the cost of fuel and my changed lifestyle in retirement and income level. I will keep the plane for a bit and perhaps will become more active in flying when fuel costs settle down.”
Gary maintains his trike at a nightly camp on a remote overland trike journey.
To learn more about Gary Bunting and his trikes, including a few tales of his overland triking adventures out on the open road, please visit these links:
Gary’s Catrike Road, and time on the CCTE, click here.
Gary’s Catrike 700, and time on the northern Oregon coast, click here.
The story of the Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition, click here.
Photographs of the northern Oregon coast ride, click here.
Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition (CCTE) 2011
Regarding Gary’s passing, my knowledge is minimal. The person who informed me of this did not know the cause of death, nor the date, but thought it was sometime several months ago, probably 2017, but said it may have been earlier. I believe he was 73 years of age. If anyone reading this post has additional knowledge, and would like to share it within our triking ranks, please feel free to leave a comment with details. Gary was a hard-charging and enthusiastic triker, who kept on pedaling even when the going got really tough. Giving up was not part of his vocabulary.
Gary rests after a grueling 13 hour day of overland triking – over a 7,000′ volcano!
THANKS FOR THE GREAT DAYS OF TRIKING GARY! SEE YA’ …
keep on triking …
Steve Greene, Gary Bunting, and Glen Aldridge pose for the camera on the 2011 Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition, a three-man motley crew if there ever was one!