Tag Archive for Howard Krepack

Today’s post, in which I remember a friend. Rest in peace, Howard Krepack.

I knew this day was coming.

But the news still hit hard. And hurt like hell.

According to Streetsblog LA, Howard Krepack, one of LA’s first lawyers specializing in bicycle cases, passed away on Saturday, and was buried Monday afternoon.

I had the pleasure of knowing Howard, and was happy to call him a friend. He had a warmth and good humor that welcomed everyone, and made anyone he met feel like an old friend.

With the possible exception of opposing counsel.

Bicycling wasn’t just the focus of his practice, it was his passion. And he was committed to doing what he could help it thrive in the City of Angels, from supporting the LACBC and websites like Streetsblog and BikinginLA, to doing whatever he could to help injured cyclists.

A long time member of Velo Club La Grange, he had the skill to drop riders half his age. Unless he’d rather just ride alongside, discussing everything from the latest frames and components to how the streets could be made safer for cyclists.

Or just how great it felt to be out for a ride on a typically beautiful LA day.

Howard made sure I rode in to the first few CicLAvias with him and his riding buddies. And made a point of including me as part of the team he sponsored for River Ride every year, whether I was able to ride with them, or busy volunteering at the LACBC booth.

I probably learned as much about bike law from Howard the few times we rode together as I have from any other source.

It was devastating news when I learned, shortly after one of those River Rides, that he was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. A disease that slowly robs those it afflicts of the ability to control their own bodies. The mind remains sharp, but trapped in a body that no longer functions; first, unable to ride a bike, then walk or speak, and finally, unable to breath.

He already knew he was suffering from an incurable, and inevitably fatal, illness as we had a long discussion that day. Yet there was no hint of it in his bright smile and broad laughter.

And he continued to practice law, first on his own, then through his associates at the firm, managing cases from his home once he could no longer make it to the courthouse, for as long as he was able.

I kept touch with him for awhile after that, first through email, then through his assistant Lisa as the disease took its toll.

Then lost touch as I struggled with my own illness, and an upgrade from Apple robbed me of the contents of my address book.

Yet even so, he served as an inspiration to me on my darkest days.

From some reason, though, he’d been on my mind lately. I’d been meaning to reach out to his law firm to see if Lisa was still there, and had any news about him. And ask her to pass along my friendship and best wishes.

Sadly, I waited too long.

I’ll miss Howard.

And whether or not you knew him, so will you, as LA bicyclists has lost a true champion, in every sense of the word.

The good always die too soon.

Update: Howard and his family have created a fund in his honor at The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins under the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Rothstein. To donate and read more about this fund, please visit: http://bit.ly/KrepackForACure.


Howard Krepack contributed a few guest columns to this site, based on his knowledge of the law, as well as his own intimate knowledge of cycling; you can read them here and here.

I’ll try to get Tuesday’s Morning Links online a little later today. To be honest, I just can’t write anymore right now.


A good friend of L.A. cycling to be honored at this year’s River Ride

I’d planned to talk about bike safety today.

And how important it is to ride within your own abilities, especially on holiday weekends when the roads are more crowded, drivers more distracted and/or drunk, and riders more relaxed.

It’s easy to push the limits just little too hard, and find yourself in a situation you can’t get out of.

But then I received the following email from Alan Krepack, brother of GEKlaw bike attorney Howard Krepack, and decided to set that aside for another day.

As you may know — and as I’m sorry to tell those who don’t — Howard was diagnosed over a year ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, an incurable disease that progressively robs the victim of control over his or her own body. While his mind is as sharp as ever, and he continues to practice law with the help of his associates and partners, this illness has taken a terrible toll on him.

I’ll let Alan pick up the story from there.

Hi Everyone,

I’m sure most, if not all of you, know that Howard has been battling ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – Lou Gehrig’s disease) for 1 1/2 years now.  He continues to be the kind-hearted, smart, loving man he has always been.  And continues to be surrounded by his immediate and extended family, and his many friends.  His mobility is limited, but his spirit remains strong.

I am writing to let you know about an event in Howard’s honor and about his web site:

1) The upcoming Los Angeles River Ride on Sunday, June 10. The ride is being dedicated to Howard and ALS awareness.  As you know, Howard has been a longstanding bicyclist and advocate for bicycle safety and policy in Los Angeles. Howard’s law firm, GEK Law, have also been sponsors of the River Ride for the past three years.

Everyone is invited to join our “team” for the River Ride.   You can ride any one of the distances (15, 36, 50, 70 or 100 miles), or simply hang out at this great event.  Details and registration are available by linking to the River Ride from the Howard’s web site or: http://la-bike.org/events

At the ride on June 10 we will be giving out t-shirts from the Howard D. Krepack Fund booth, next to the GEK law booth for anyone who wants to be part of our team.  At 7:45am we will meet at the booth for a picture. For those riding the century or 70 mile course the t-shirts will be available at 7am.

Also at the River Ride on June 10 Howard will be receiving the first annual Service to Cycling award given to citizens who have made significant contributions to bicycle advocacy, safety and use in Los Angeles.

2) The Howard D. Krepack web site and fund was launched last month.  If you haven’t visited, please take a moment to check it out, pass the link on to anyone who may be interested and connected to Howard, and hopefully motivated to make a contribution to ALS research in Howard’s name from his web site:  http://community.als.net/krepack

Please make a donation of any amount to help us reach our donation goal for ALS research in Howard’s name.

Howard, Vivian and our entire family thank you for your support.

Over the years, Howard has been a big supporter of Los Angeles bicycling and a good friend to cyclists.

Or just a good friend, period.

He is someone I’ve been happy to know, and I’ve referred riders to him for legal help more than once, knowing they’d be in good hands.

I last had a long talk with Howard at last year’s River Ride, discussing what the LACBC, and we as individuals, could do to improve safety for cyclists in the L.A. area. I didn’t know at the time that he has already been diagnosed; yet typically, instead of worrying about himself, he was focused on what we could do for others.

If you’ve been on the fence about this year’s River Ride, I urge you to come out and participate — whether you choose to ride or just hang out and visit the booths. And honor Howard Krepack along with the LACBC, his family and friends.

I don’t know if he’ll be up to attending this year.

But either way, it will mean a lot to him. And to all of us.


Please take just a moment this Memorial Day weekend to remember what this holiday is all about, and honor those who have given so much — and so often, too much — for our country. And those who continue to give.

And be careful out there.

I want to see you all back here next week.

Win a free 2011 L.A. River Ride — or save $10 now on River Ride registration!

I’ve always been a firm believer in paying it forward when opportunity allows.

It all goes back to my father, who never left a stranger stranded on the side of the road. If he couldn’t fix their car on the spot, he’d give them a ride into town to call for help. Sometimes he’d even drive them to our home, grab his tools, and go back to fix it himself while they waited.

Whenever someone tried to reward him for his efforts, he’d just say they’d have a chance to help someone else someday.

And when that day comes, do it.

So when I unexpectedly found myself with an opportunity to participate in this year’s 11th Annual L.A. River Ride — one of Southern California’s largest and most popular fundraising rides — I tried to figure out what I could do to get you to ride along with me, and a few thousand of our closest friends.

I’d actually planned on working as a volunteer in the LACBC booth at the L.A. River Ride, until leading L.A. bike attorney Howard Krepack, one of the LACBC’s most consistent and generous sponsors, graciously offered to let me ride as his guest.

And no, in case you’re wondering, he did not make that offer in exchange for being mentioned here. This is just my way of thanking him for his very kind and generous gesture.

Almost immediately, it occurred to me that there might be a way I could share my good fortune with you.

So I emailed JJ Hoffman, the LACBC River Ride Coordinator, with two suggestions — first, to offer a special discount on River Ride registration for readers of this blog, or second, hold a contest to give away a free River Ride registration.

And JJ, who’s clearly of a generous bent herself, responded by saying why not do both?

So here’s the deal.

If you’ve been on the fence about participating in this year’s River Ride — or you just enjoy a great bargain — you can sign up online for the 11th Annual Los Angeles River Ride anytime between now and June 4th and save $10 off your registration.

All you have to do is visit the River Ride site on Active.com and sign up using the special discount code TEDBC11 (case sensitive).

That means a $65 registration for the Century or 70-mile rides will cost you just $55. The Half Century and 36-mile rides will run just $45 with the discount. And you can sign up for the 15-mile Family Ride, normally $50, for just $40.

You can thank me later.

On the other hand, maybe that’s still out your reach this year. Or maybe you’re just feeling lucky. Either way, one person is going to win a free River Ride registration courtesy of the LACBC.

All you have to do is email me at ridetheriver2011@hotmail.com, and explain in 50 words or less why you, or someone you know, deserves to ride this year’s River Ride for free.

Maybe you had a hard year, or done more than your share to help others. Maybe, like me, you’ve never done the River Ride and always wanted to. Or maybe you know someone who is deserving of a special gift this year.

Whatever your reason, send it to the address above, and I’ll remove any identifying information and forward your email to the LACBC’s staff and River Ride volunteers. They’ll make the choice; and yes, their choice is final. All entries are due no later than midnight on the night of Thursday, May 26th; the winner will be notified by Tuesday, May 31st.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to contact everyone who didn’t win. So if you haven’t heard anything by the 1st, it just means it wasn’t you this time.

Nothing personal.

Fortunately, that still gives you a few days to sign up using the discount code.

And join me and the LACBC — and a couple thousand other cyclists — in Riding the River this year.


Volunteers are still needed for the River Ride on JUne 5th, and to help get ready in the days leading up to the ride. Contact RRVolunteer@la-bike.org.

And yes, I’m sure they’ll understand if you need to back out because you won the free registration.

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