We are in shock. On Monday, Feb. 25, Jim Taylor struck a tree in while skiing in Squaw Valley. He was airlifted out but was pronounced dead at Renown Medical Center in Reno.
Jim Taylor is a good friend of mine. He has been a supporter/advertiser of mtbr for the last 10 years. We’ve ridden with him in the trails of Santa Cruz and we’ve skied with him Squaw. He rides like a god and skis even better.
He’s 52 years old but he’s got the fitness and agility of a 25 year old. His love for the bike is only surpassed by his love of skiing. He moved from his residence in the Bay Area to Truckee so he can be close to the skiing.
Jim leaves behind a very loving wife, Joyce who often mans his Downieville or Interbike booth while us kids play. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her.
founder, mtbr.com and roadbikereview.com
Here is a heart-felt message by one of Jim Taylor’s close friends, Pat Trolan.
I was a close friend of Jim Taylor’s. All your comments are extremely touching and mean a lot to those that knew him. Frankly, they have brought tears to my eyes.
Jim was born and raised in Santa Cruz, Ca. He had been skiing and cycling since an early age. After his high school years in Santa Cruz he lived in Squaw Valley for several years. He earned his living doing sheet rock. He’d save his money during the summer months so he could ski all winter.
After several years of that he moved back to the Santa Cruz area and got a job as sales rep in what is now Silicon Valley. He worked in high tech for most of his career. In his last job before starting Jet he developed, marketed and sold products for a company in San Jose, Ca. He was truly a one man show and the company did very well for the owner and Jim.
After doing this for ~10 he decided he wanted to run his own company. He was searching for ideas for a product to build. At this time night riding for mountain bikes was just getting started. Jim purchased a light from one of the companies in the industry for his own personal use. At the time he lived very near the trails at UC Santa Cruz and those trails were essentially his back yard. After using it for several months he felt it was poorly designed. It was simply too heavy and it lacked any flexibility from a feature stand point. Jim though up the concept of having a dual beam light that was modular – meaning you could run one beam two by simply snapping them together.
I remember him showing me the first draft of the engineering drawings in the back of his Ford Explorer before a ride in Nisene Marks. It was also on the trails of Nisene Marks and UCSC/Gray Whale/ Wilder Ranch where the first Jet Lites were tested. Jim would bring out several sets of lights and he’d outfit a few guys’ bikes for a ride/test session. Folks like Tom Moore, Brad Halcomb (who would win a N. Cal Pro down hill title) and I were the first to ride with a Jet Lite products before they were available to the public.
From the first prototypes the lights were brighter and lighter than anything else any of us had used before. However, Jim was always looking to improve it. He wanted to make it more reliable as well as introduce new features (dimming modes, fuel gages, longer lasting batteries, lighter batteries etc.). He test the product constantly often times on solo night rides at 11 pm during the summer months. The innovation never stopped. At times he was overwhelmed because he did the marketing, sales, design work and boxed up the product.
If you have a Jet Lite I’m 100% positive there is a Jim Taylor finger print on it. In the early days we’d sometime gather a friend or two and go to his shop on the weekend before a ride to help him. He’d tell us how many orders he had for each type of light and we’d set up an assembly line put the various components into the right boxes. We made a game out of it and tried to see how many of the various models we could build in a short time. He was always super grateful for the help. None of us would have dreamed of accepting any money.
Heck, sometimes we did it because he told us he couldn’t ride that day because he had to build lights. So, we’d offer to help so he could get the orders filled and we could ride together. It was selfish on our part. We wanted him on the ride. It was more fun with him along because he’d always stir it up out on the trail. I can hear him now says “Let’s go Daws!” “Let’s go Trolan!” “Go! GO!! Catch him!” These were some of the best times I’ve ever had. I have many, many wonderful memories of times with Jim. I know others have them as well. I’m grateful to have known him. I’m thankful to him for all the advice he gave me.
I last saw Jim on Friday February 8th in the late afternoon at Squaw Valley. We sat down at Plump Jacks for a beer (he had a coke). We had skied the two days before in the afternoon. He was headed to British Columbia the next day on a ski trip. I walked with him towards our cars through the village. We stopped at a few booths that were set up by vendors out side due to the skiing competition that coming weekend. He was happy and healthy. He was excited about his forth coming trip.
I thank you Jim.
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