Bob Watts, 1931-2006: Supporter of bicycling in Missouri and nationwide

Bob Watts, past chair of MoBikeFed and tireless advocate of bicycling in Kansas City, the state of Missouri, and across the U.S., passed away Saturday.

Bob owned Bob's Bikes and Crown Cyclery. He was president of the Kansas City Bicycle Club and chair and long-time board member of the Missouri Bicycle Federation. He was involved in the beginning of many influential nationwide organizations such as Bikes Belong and the Thunderhead Alliance. As an active force in and MARC's Bicycle/Pedestrian and Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Committees, Bob has had a lasting impact on moving forward bicycle and pedestrian access across the entire metro region. 

Bob and Jean Watts
Bob and Jean Watts


Bob's obituary and comments left by family and friends are online here.

Charitable donations may be made to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Ed Chasteen, a friend of Bob, wrote this:

Dear riders, it is my sad duty to tell you that Bob Watts died yesterday. If the highway to heaven doesn't have a designated bike lane, Bob has called a meeting already. Countless hours, money and time he spent with us, championing safe biking and inspiring riders. When he heard back in 1986 that I planned to bike alone and without money across America, he called me. "You can't ride that old clunker across the country," he said. "I'll build you a bike that will stand up to a Mack Truck and climb a tree. For the next few months, I practically lived at his house as he built my bike. And he did it all for free.

Bob and Jean flew to join me twice on the road and rode for days with me, paying for everything along the way. We had long talks. I told Bob that early on I had planned to be a minister. But decided against it when visiting the sick and dying caused me to cry more than they did. I told Bob and Jean that I had pastored two small churches, but had been lucky to leave before anyone died. I never held a funeral.

Then a few weeks ago Bobbie and I visited Bob in the hospital. His cancer was back. They gave him four to six months. As we walked to the car, Bobbie said, "Bob told me he wants you to do his funeral." I had to smile. That bike! Those meals! Bob was asking for payment. I couldn't say no.

Can you do it?" Bobbie asked. She had been there early on when just the thought of my friends dying tore me to pieces. "I couldn't do it for anyone else," I said. "But for Bob, I can. I can't say no to Bob."

So this Wednesday, March 15 at 11 AM, we are holding a celebration of Bob's life. We will do it at his church, Liberty's First Presbyterian. From 6-8 PM on Tuesday, March 14, Bob's family invite all of Bob's friends to visit with them at Church-Archer Funeral Home to remember the grand and glorious life Bob lived among us.