Monday, May 07, 2007

Death of a Cyclist

Just over a week ago, a local cyclist, Dave du Buisson died on the Kimberely Road. He was hit by a truck. He was riding with another cyclist when it happened. There was a Memorial Service on Saturday, where a group of cyclists rode from Reyneke Park to the place where David died. I’m told that prayers were offered, and cyclists hovered there for a time, and then cycled home.

I didn’t attend since I was evacuating the site of a photo exhibition.

Whilst setting up the stands for the exhibition, I tore apart page after page from local newspapers. It is ironic that one page in April included a recent article of the red-headed, Microsoft rider, and soon after, I came across the front page article writing about his death.

I remember him from a cycle race on the Jagersfontein road this year. I remember at a certain point I cruised to the front of the bunch. The best riders like to fill up the front of the pelotons arrow, where they can stay safe and mark attacks. My intrusion obviously didn’t bode well, and he, obviously sensing disarray, slid by me and almost into me. I almost said something to him out of annoyance, but decided against it. After all, I’ve done the same thing. Slotted in slightly too much in front of someone else.

I also remember seeing him at the Provincial Road Champs. I just remember him sliding on his bike in front of me. I felt really stuck that day.

And now he is dead. A promising, competitive cyclist. It is interesting to reflect on those two odd moments, those encounters that seemed to mean nothing, but now gain more significance when the person is gone forever. The value of this, it seems to me, is noticing, and appreciating the people around us, in the sense that not only are they here temporarily, but we are too. And so perhaps we can place ourselves completely in the moment, see each other, and listen to each other, or at the very least, notice the people – friends and strangers – that are around us. On any day, we may never see them again. Or, they may never see you or I alive, walking this Earth, again.

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