Death and Fear in Cycling

Photo: http://mtbs.cz
Photo: http://mtbs.cz

Today, the cycling community lost a very dear friend, South African XC mountain biker, Burry Stander.  He was tragically killed by a taxi while training in his hometown.  The entire MTB racing family, and most friends that follow competitive cycling, are mourning greatly.

Burry was riding his bike, just like you or I ride our bikes every day.  If we take to the roads, we are putting ourselves in danger.  Cyclists cannot predict what auto drivers are going to do while driving.  We can take all the precautions possible, but we are still no match for a 2,000 pound vehicle heading our way.  Mountain biking carries its own inherent dangers, even if we choose not to ride insane stunts like riders in our favorite MTB videos.  Rocks, roots, trees, and even crazed animals are all hazards that could be encountered on a trip in the woods.

Should we stop cycling, all together?  Should we take all risk out of our lives to ensure that we survive our day-to-day lives?  Absolutely not, I say.  Regardless of how we try to shelter ourselves from potential threats to our livelihood, ceasing our activities and living under an umbrella of fear is no way to live life.

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” — Spanish proverb, in Baz Luhrmann’s movie Strictly Ballroom

Remember Burry Stander’s family and friends in your prayers, as well as those family and friends of other cyclists that have been killed while cycling.  Take time to mourn, but do not allow sadness and fear to encompass your life.   Do not live in fear, but in action.   Join a cycling advocacy group, and do your best to encourage positive and progressive cycling legislation in your local cycling community.  Obey the rules of the road.  Wear your helmet.  Teach a beginner road cyclist how to properly ride in traffic.  Lead a group ride.  Go live.

My friend, VeloNews journalist Dan Wuori, echoed the sentiments of many cycling fans tonight in a Tweet:

“@dwuori: A Cyclist’s Prayer: Watch over those who ride and bring comfort to all who mourn. #RIPBurry”

Stuff in the Hopper

Don’t have a lot of time to post anything really substantial, but here’s a few things that are in the works at the moment:

  • Georgia Rides to the Capitol – Advocacy ride from several locations in Metro Atlanta, converging on the State Capitol tomorrow around noon.  I’m riding with the RAMBO guys out of Roswell, and will meet up with a bunch of folks there and along the way.  Going to show Atlanta what great numbers of cyclists think… Hopefully, we’ll get the “3 Foot Law” passed pretty soon.
  • FredCast Interview – I’ve got an interview with David Bernstein from “The FredCast” lined up for mid-week.  He helped launch the VeloReviews Podcast, and asked me to come on the air with him to discuss some Spring Bike Tune-Up ideas.  Link to be posted when it airs.
  • MS150 Class – Thursday, I’m teaching a basic maintenance/cycling tips class to a group from the Knights of Columbus that is doing the MS150. Several members of the group have already come by the shop to get outfitted for bikes and gear.  It’s always good to educate more cyclists and teach them good maintenance and cycling habits.
  • Beginner Track Class – Taking the Beginner Class at the Dick Lane Velodrome on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s only 3 hours per day, and I know my way around the track (having even officiated races at that track), but… it will be a whole different world riding on the track.  Pray for good weather…

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Gotta get my gear ready for tomorrow’s ride!

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