The funeral has taken place of South African mountain biker Burry Stander, killed during a training ride last week when he was hit by a taxi. The service was held in the 25-year-old’s home town of Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal. Meanwhile, Hadleigh Park Mountain Bike Club, based at the venue in Essex where Stander finished fifth in the Olympic cross-country race last summer, says there are plans to erect a memorial to him and it is also organising a ride in tribute to him.
Many mourners at the service yesterday at the Norwegian Settlers Church wore white, Stander’s favourite colour, which his widow Cherise – the pair got married just a few weeks before the Olympics last year – explained was his favourite colour. TV screens inside the church showed photos and videos of him, reports Independent Online.
Delivering the eulogy, his brother Duane said: “We will love you, we will miss you, and you will always cycle in our hearts for ever.” He added: “We will remember Burry. We must continue riding our bikes for health, fitness, racing or personal reasons and enjoy.”
He also revealed that as he had sorted through his brother’s belongings in recent days, he had found a notebook in which Burry, then aged 11, had written: “I will one day like to be a pro biker. I would like to win the World Cup. I would like to race for a great team.” All three of those boxes had been ticked.
Following Stander’s death, cyclists in South Africa have called for measures to be implemented to improve the safety of riders using the country’s roads. A spokesman for Fikile Mbalula, South Africa’s minister for sports and recreation, has said that a Cycle For Life awareness programme will be unveiled in April.
“We want more cycling lanes, and discussions are under way for the 1.5m passing rule,” said the spokesman, the latter a reference to calls for a minimum safe passing distance, which campaigners have nicknamed ‘the Burry Gap,’ the subject of a poignant cartoon in the Weekend Argus.
Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club in Essex, which tweeted that picture, has said on Twitter that is holding a ride in memory of Stander and to call for greater safety for cyclists, on Sunday 7 April. The ride is planned to begin at 10am, possibly beginning on the Olympic start loop. It has also said that there are plans for a permanent memorial to him at the venue.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.