GUELPH, Ontario (BRAIN) — Longtime retailer and cycling enthusiast George Vettor passed away last week. He was 77.
Vettor was a fixture in the Ontario cycling scene for more than four decades. Born in Italy, he was a budding bike mechanic from a young age—a skill he learned from his father, who owned one of the biggest bike shops in the country. He later went on to open George Vettor Cycle and Sport in Guelph in 1969, after moving to Canada in 1957.
Vettor was actively involved in the cycling race scene early on, supplying professional racers with Italian bikes and parts. He was an accomplished road racer himself, and competed in the World Championships in Austria in 1978, where he finished 100th in a pack of 350.
From supporting local events to inspiring others to ride bikes, Vettor made an impact on cycling in his region.
“Triathletes would ride with him while they were training,” his daughter Louisa told the Guelph Mercury. “A lot of people started riding because of him.”
For the past several years, Vettor has donated a bicycle to be awarded to a child as part of the Guelph police force’s annual bike helmet and safety campaign.
Vettor passed away while riding his bicycle from an apparent heart attack. “He always said if he died while riding his bike, he died happy,” said Louisa.
He is survived by his wife Regina and their three children.