You are here

Ibis Cycles development technician succumbs to COVID-19

Published January 22, 2021

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (BRAIN) — Luis Valerio, a development technician at Ibis Cycles, died recently of COVID-19 after spending 26 days in the hospital.

Valerio helped handbuild Ibis carbon fiber prototypes and production frames. Owners of Ibis's U.S.-made Ripley LS frames will find a serial code that begins with RAL on their frames. RAL are the initials of Ibis designer and co-owner Roxy Lo and also stood for "Ruben and Luis," who built each frame — Ruben being Ruben Reyes, a friend and co-worker of Valerio for over 30 years.

The two worked together previously at Kestrel, and were hired together to come to Ibis by Preston Sandusky, an Ibis senior engineer and former co-owner of Kestrel, Saris Mercanti, Ibis's marketing manager, told BRAIN

"Luis Valerio was one of the unsung heroes of Ibis's Carbon 831 Lab. With over 30 years of experience working with carbon fiber layups, he provided keen insight into the methods that could help improve production speeds and consistency. He was a master of the craft," the company said in an Instagram post

Besides building bikes, Valerio enjoyed restoring cars, including his Chevy Impala, a show-winner that features chromed and engraved parts throughout. Ibis included photos of the Impala on the Instagram post.

"He was an artist, a craftsman, a jokester, a family man, and our beloved friend and coworker," the company said on Instagram. "The last bike Luis built was a small Ripley LS for his wife. He had been spending time after-hours sanding and preparing the frame, and we were helping him piece it together. It's fitting that the last thing he did was for someone else. That's who he was.⁠"

Mercanti said Valerio contracted COVID-19 over the holiday break when Ibis was closed. He took a COVID-19 test a few days before the factory re-opened and entered the hospital a few days later. Mercanti said that because he contracted the virus over the break he was never in contact with other Ibis employees.  

Members of Valerio's family are still battling COVID-19 and friends have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help. More information at

Luis Valerio

Join the Conversation