Cycling feats ‘beat the shyness out of Mike Hall’, memorial service told
Cycling hero died aged 35 in race in Australia.
Hundreds of lycra-clad cyclists from across the UK have gathered to celebrate the life of an inspirational British endurance rider who died after being hit by a car during a race across Australia.
Mike Hall, 35, died near the Australian capital, Canberra, during the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, from Perth to Sydney, in March.
Friends and family paid tribute to the “painfully humble” cyclist as they attended a memorial service in his home town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Guy Kesteven, a friend of Mr Hall’s, said he hoped his friend’s death might encourage people to drive more carefully.
Mr Hall had warned other competitors in the 3,400-mile (5,500km) race about the dangers of fast moving vehicles getting too close to riders days before the fatal collision.
Mr Kesteven said: “As well as all the incredible legacies he’s left in terms of races and events and memories, if we could leave a legacy that people are just a bit more careful when they’re driving, whether it’s horse riders, cyclists, runners or other motorists, you really don’t have to be there in that much of a hurry.
“People matter. Take a bit of time, appreciate everyone.
“Mike appreciated everyone he met, he never put himself before them and that’s what made him Mike and that’s what made him someone I’m just amazingly proud to have known.”
Speaking with Pat Hall, Russell Hall and Anna Haslock, Mr Hall’s mother, brother and girlfriend, Mr Kesteven said his friend would probably not “have been bothered for the fuss” made over his death.
He said: “He was painfully humble.
“He was shy when he was young but what he achieved and what he managed to do almost beat the shyness out of him, people wouldn’t let him be that shy, but he was always incredibly humble, incredibly inspiring.
“And it’s a cliche that all the success he had racing around the world, setting world records, setting event records time and time again, it’s a cliche to say it didn’t change him but it didn’t.”
He added: “He was a truly incredible individual, truly inspiring and just a fantastic friend, fantastic brother, fantastic son, fantastic partner and just meant so much to so many people.”
More than 200 cyclists attended the memorial service at Pavilions of Harrogate, filling the temporary bike racks installed specially for the occasion.
Mr Hall was seen as a pioneering ultra-distance rider and many tributes following his death said he inspired a generation of cyclists.
He became the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle in 2012, taking just 92 days and beating the previous record holder by nearly two weeks, was twice winner of the Tour Divide and also won the Trans Am Bike Race in 2014.
An online funding site, set up to help Mr Hall’s mother and girlfriend, has reached nearly £80,000, with donations from more than 3,000 people across the world.