In memory of a cyclist: Bas Clarke
When you have a passionate interest in an activity, and you go out and share that passion with others, through a mysterious network of people and events, you come across exceptional people and moving stories. Sadly, sometimes you encounter only the memory of people whose existence on this planet was inopportunely cut off by tragic circumstances.
I never met Bas Clarke. He had died in a tragic road accident, aged 65, shortly before I had established firm links with one of the cycling groups that he had ridden with. That group is euphemistically known as the ‘Thursday group’ and, a couple of weeks ago, Jane Clarke (his widow) held her annual garden party in his memory, providing this hungry group of cyclists with cakes galore (my favourite was parsnip and chocolate cake), and providing a base in her beautiful house and garden for weary legs and empty stomachs.
Bas had been a noted time triallist in his time, principally during the 1980s when, as a vet, he had won championships and broken records. He had over 50 years of experience under the belt but, unfortunately, he had never broken the habit of doing his training up and down the A1. Sadly, one day in September 2009, he was struck by a lorry driven by a foreign driver. He died two days later in Peterborough Hospital. Bas had been a stonemason, and had designed and built the beautiful house that Jane still lives in. He had also been a notable duck breeder and keeper of wild fowl, for which he had designed and built a lake on the field that sweeps downhill from their back garden.
Though sad that I had never met the man, I am now delighted to have made his acquaintance in the spirit. And delighted also to see that his memory is preserved by those closest to him in the world of cycling.