A Tribute Ride
On July 30th, Patrick Wanninkhof, a 25-year-old New York high school science teacher on a cross-country cycling trip was killed when he was struck from behind by a car.
The driver of the car reportedly told police she was looking at her cell phone at the time of the crash.
Wanninkhof was leading a group of more than two dozen riders from Maine to California with Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization that raises money for affordable housing.
When the Bike & Build group finished their ride in Santa Barbara, Patrick’s father, Rik, embarked on a tribute ride on Bike Fridays with two close friends, Bill Asher and David Ho. All three wore Bike Friday Compass jerseys when Ho came up with the idea.
“Rik was very appreciative,” Ho said. “It turns out Patrick had taken the year off and was planning to ride his bike through Central and South America. Rik thought it was appropriate that a map of the Americas was on the front of the jersey.”
Ho said that Rik’s original plan was to meet Patrick in California when the cross country ride finished, and take him on a pretty well known and beautiful — but grueling — ride in the mountains behind Santa Barbara called the Old San Marco/Painted Cave Loop.
“To remember Patrick, Bill Asher and I went on the ride with Rik on our Bike Friday folding bikes. The ride was only slightly over 30 miles, but had 5,500 feet of climbing and gradients up to 18%. I hope not to do it again anytime soon.”
Bike Fridays were one of the ties that bind these three friends.
“Rik, Bill and I have been colleagues for over 20 years,” Ho said. “We’re all Oceanographers. Bill was the first one to get a Bike Friday, and that influenced Rik to get one. After borrowing Rik’s bike in Corsica once when we were teaching a summer school, I decided that I need one too. We often ride together at or after meetings in various parts of the world.”
A nonprofit organization has been set up to continue Patrick’s cycling advocacy. You can learn more and donate here.
Here are two stories about Patrick: