If trees were shaped like bicycles that’s the one we’d plant for William McHenry Keyser, otherwise known as Mac, who died Dec. 15, 2020.
No matter, trees are trees and bicycles are bicycles and Keyser enjoyed both. He loved sharing the road on his bicycle with a multitude of friends and family. I was one of the early riders in his Wednesday evening riding group that spanned 40 years.
Founder of the Shelburne Bike Club, Keyser lived by the motto, “Go fast, take chances.” In the early days, we gathered at Keyser’s house on Irish Hill Road. After a decade or so, the starting point moved to Church Street in Shelburne village. Wednesdays after work, the regular group of 10-15 cycling enthusiasts gathered at the town green.
Keyser planned the route and off his cycling comrades rode, enjoying Vermont’s landscape, seeking the rural, less trafficked roads that traveled by lakes, rivers, fields and hills.
He had a gift for gathering friends to share exercise and often a post-ride meal at a local restaurant. His quiet, kind and gentle nature attracted a bevy of friends who admired him.
Keyser could fix just about anything too. When not out riding, you would often find him tinkering in his basement, fine-tuning a bike for a friend.
The Wednesday night cycling group, dubbed Wednesday Night Riders, honored Keyser’s legacy on June 23, with a tree planted on the Shelburne Town Green — the perfect place to enjoy some shade.
His friends will continue to ride with Keyser’s playful spirit and love of Vermont. A tree planted in a town Mac loved, on a green that originated hundreds of rides, is the perfect tribute to a man who lived well and spread his generosity far and wide.
Planting trees to honor loved ones gives rebirth to our landscape and offers hope for our environment. We hope the tree we plant as a memorial to Keyser will inspire others to do the same for someone important in their lives.