Family, friends, and local cyclists who knew 55-year-old Brian “Buzz” Climis set out to make his memory live on as they chained up a “ghost bike” close by where the fatal crash took place on Bridgeport Avenue, Dec. 23.
According to ghostbike.org, the purpose of the white spray-painted bike is to serve as a “roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed or severely injured (usually by a motor vehicle). Apart from being a memorial, it is usually intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road.”
Dr. Bardia Asgari of Primary Care LLC in Shelton, who was a friend of Climis, said the memorial is a known tradition among bicyclists.
“Me and a bunch of his friends decided to do the memorial in his honor. He was an avid rider, so it was only right we commemorate him the right way,” said Asgari.
Since the crash took place, Asgari and one of Climis’s best friends, Andy Fox, find themselves reflecting back on times they shared together, and also on how the loss of a friend has changed their lives.
“I’m more of an off-road cyclist now,” said Asgari, who explained that his wife and 16-year-old daughter often fear for his safety whenever he now rides his bike on the road.”
Asgari said he recently had a picture of Climis hung in his office with an empty bike rack as another tribute to the loss of his friend.
Fox said he is one of Climis’s oldest friends and recalls them meeting while in high school back in the 70s. He called Climis a great friend and an amazing athlete.
According to Fox, Climis was working on a 7,000-mile riding year for 2016, and he had years when he rode 15,000 and 20,000 miles when he was younger.
“Riding with Buzz was always an amazing experience,” said Fox. “He was unbelievable. He was a great guy to talk with and he could do both. He could be going up the steepest hill and continue a conversation while doing it. Meanwhile, everyone else would be breathing too hard while riding up the hill.”
Fox recalls weekly Tuesday bike ride up to Stone Gardens Farm with Asgari and Climis to get their shares of vegetables. He also recalls Climis being one of the best bicycle mechanics he had ever seen.
“He repaired all of my bicycles. All of my bikes have his mark on them, so it’s really sad that he’s no longer here,” said Fox. “He had a full shop in his basement. One of my biggest issues was I would always break spokes and wheels. It drove him nuts, because he didn’t know why it kept happening. His solution was to build really strong wheels with a four-cross spoke arrangement. When I took my bikes to shops I would tell them, ‘Look at this, my friend made these for me.’”
Fox said he’ll always remember Climis’s sense of humor and caring nature and how attentive he was to all his friends.
“He always made it a point to stay up to date on what was going on in your life. You could always tell how much he cared for his friends,” said Fox. “I was the best man at his wedding and he was truly an amazing person. It was one of those friendships that just came together. He was the brother I never had.”
Some days are easier than others to stay positive and reflect on the good times, Fox said, but he will feel the loss of his friend forever, and his hope is for Climis’s memory to live on as long as possible.
According to his obituary, Climis was the “beloved husband of 32 years to Karen (Corbin) Climis,” was a father of three children and had one grandchild.
The accident is actively under investigation and police say they have interviewed witnesses.