Cyclist’s death stuns riding mates

2014-10-14 00:00

CYCLIST Ronnie Mansell’s death before the start of the weekend’s Amashova race in Pietermartzburg has robbed his riding mates of a loved “family” member.

This year’s race was the first 71-year-old Mansell’s tight-knit group of fellow pensioner cyclists did not cross the line together.

Mansell died in hospital on Sunday after a collision involving a taxi before the start of the race.

The Bluff, Durban, resident who successfully completed last year’s event, was remembered as a “gentleman” of his sport and of his club as his friends mourned his passing. Mansell cycled during the week with eight other older riders who regarded each other as family.

Derek Stringer (81), founding member of the Bluff Athletics Club and part of Mansell’s cycling group, had known him for over 35 years. He said he always kept his close group of cyclists laughing.

“We were not a cycling group; we were more like a family. We cycled three times a week and met every Friday for lunch. “We attended each other’s birthday celebrations and family events. We even went away on weekends together,” he said.

Stringer said when they heard the news of Mansell’s accident, they heard he had only broken his leg.

“During the race we got the news Ronnie had died and my daughter and I decided to finish the race in his name.

“He was such a gentleman and a real family man,” Stringer said.

He added their small group always finished the Amashova together and had entered many cycling events.

Bluff Athletics Club chairperson Kevin Adams said the club was saddened to hear of Mansell’s passing, as he had been a long-time member.

“Ronnie was as old as the Bluff Athletics Club. I’ve only been at the club for seven years, but he’s been with the club for over 30.

“He was an absolute gentleman; always willing to drop whatever he was doing to help anyone in need.”

Mansell leaves behind a wife, four children and grandchildren.

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