There’s something incredibly heartwarming about the way the cycling community can pull together when the chips are down.
In recent months, Sussex has seen two tragedies that claimed the lives of local cyclists. Two were killed in the Shoreham Airshow disaster - 26 year-old Richard Smith and Dylan Archer, who was 42. Just weeks earlier, Don Lock, a 79 year-old member of Worthing Excelsior Cycling Club, was stabbed to death in a road rage incident on the A24.
All three leave devastated loved ones as well as friends and fellow cyclists left stunned by the random nature of the awful events that took place. All three are being mourned and missed.
There have been many tributes made and events held to mark the three deaths. One of them was a ride organized by Excelsior to celebrate the life of Don Lock, who’d been a member of the club for 50 years.
Around 150 cyclists joined the ride, a gentle meander through the West Sussex countryside, ending at a little village hall in the shadow of the South Downs, where tea and cakes – lots of cakes! – were available.
Standing there admiring the views and devouring the cake, we reflected on how wonderful it was to see so many different club strips in the same place, alongside more casual cyclists on their shoppers and folding bikes and hybrids.
There were no speeches or presentations or great outpourings of emotion. This wasn’t the time or place for any of that. It was just a collection of cyclists enjoying each other’s company and saluting a life well lived – a tribute as pure and simple as the sport we all love.