Follow Bicycle Retailer

You are here

Michigan retailer 'Bicycle Don' dies at 57

Published March 17, 2014

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. (BRAIN) — Retailer Don Van Cleave, better known to many as "Bicycle Don," died Sunday at age 56 of bladder cancer.

Van Cleave started work at Al Petri & Sons Bicycles when he was 14 and became a part owner in the business in 2005, along with his wife Debbie, his father-in-law Al Petri Jr. and his brother-in-law Al Petri III.

"Don has always had a love for bikes. His knowledge in the bicycle world goes above and beyond most ranging from the most classic to the most current bike models. He would spend hours tinkering with them and loved making one of a kind creations for all types of customers," a store statement read.

"People from all over Michigan and nearby states would love to stop in the shop and visit with Don.He made sure to attend his final Interbike show in Vegas this past September with the whole full time staff and made the best of it!"

Outside of work, Van Cleave was active in the city of Lincoln Park. He was on the Downtown Development Authority and the exchange club. He took part in the city's annual Christmas Exhibit where he dressed as an elf to entertain the children. He organized a bicycle show at the city's annual Lincoln Park Days festival. He helped many charities, including P.E.A.C., an organization to help riders of all abilities enjoy riding. He enjoyed designing custom bikes for those with special needs through P.E.A.C.

He also was involved with many schools, helping students receive scholarships and was active in child abuse prevention.He loved hosting get-togethers. From family holidays to summer bike rides and barbecues, he loved to entertain.

Visitation was planned for March 19 at the R.C. Aleks & Son Funeral Home, 1324 Southfield Rd., Lincoln Park from 2 to 9 p.m. A service will be held at the funeral home on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Topics associated with this article: People

Join the Conversation