October 11, 2013 (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) – It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Norco Bicycles and Live to Play Sports founder Bert Lewis. He passed away on Monday, October 7, 2013 with his loved ones gathered by his bedside. Bert was an inspiration to all who met him. His humility, generosity and kindness will be deeply missed.
Bert founded Northern Cycle Industries, now Live to Play Sports (LTP), in 1964 in Burnaby, British Columbia. Bert’s dream was to build a bicycle company to serve the needs of western Canadians, and he always believed in delivering high-quality, innovative products complemented by outstanding service. In the early days, Bert’s company assembled ten bikes per day for the local market. Today, Norco and LTP deliver more than 100,000 bikes annually to cyclists around the world and distribute over 100 cycling brands in Canada.
“Bert was a pioneer in the cycling industry, building deep and lasting relationships at home and abroad that helped lay the foundation for the global industry we are a part of today. He was an extremely successful and generous Canadian entrepreneur whose pragmatism was balanced with fairness and honesty in all his business dealings,” says John Williams, president of LTP. “He believed in the honesty of others and his word was stronger than any written contract. He always deflected credit for the success of the company and was quick to spread the praise to others.”
Though Bert will surely be remembered as a key figure in the history and development of Canadian cycling, he credited much of his success to the people around him. His integrity, optimism and determination to outperform have permeated LTP and have become ingrained in the company’s culture.
“I had the pleasure of working for Bert for the last 34 years. Although, in recent years, he was not active in the business day to day, he was deeply involved in the sport and business of cycling,” says Skip Swain, VP of Sales and Marketing at LTP. “There was not a question I could ask where he did not have an answer based on his wealth of business experience. He was a true entrepreneur and I learned something from him every time we talked.”
The Lewis family and company shareholders are deeply committed to the ongoing success of Live to Play Sports and Norco Bicycles, and to running the business under the same ownership and management in a manner consistent with Bert’s original vision of innovation, quality and service.
Bert is survived by his wife Marlene, his son Alan (Alana) and their three-month-old daughter Olive, and his daughter Carolyn (Paul) and their three children Amanda, Sam and Jack.
As Bert donated to numerous charities, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make a donation to leukemia and lymphoma research at the Canadian Cancer Society.
Bert was a true pioneer and a builder, and his passion for the sport and his entrepeneurial spirit made him a legend in the cycling industry both here and abroad. Pedal joins the cycling community in Canada, and around the globe, in sending condolences to Bert’s family and friends and to everyone at Norco Bicycles and LTP Sports.