Barbara Minnick was hit from behind while she was biking on our Northern Tier Western Segment Tour near Minot, North Dakota.
The driver was a 48-year-old man in a pick-up truck. He was on the way to his son’s wedding. It was a 4-lane divided road, straight, with little traffic. It was a warm sunny afternoon with a nice tailwind, and you could see for miles, but he didn't see her until it was too late. She flew off her bike and landed in soft, tall grass.
That's the part I’d like to remember. It was a beautiful resting place, with farmland all around. I want to believe she died instantly and painlessly.
The Meandering Mississippi was Barbara's first tour with us in 2007. She did a tour every year after that, and I saw her on each of them.
I’ll never forget the first time I met her. She told me that we needed to proof our printed material better. It was as if she’d stabbed me, but she was right. I’ve tried to do better ever since, but I always knew I could count on her to point out our itinerary inaccuracies. Every year, she’d go over them at home before the tour and email me so I could fix our mistakes.
I was cycling with her once when her bike got caught on a lip in the pavement and she fell over. She hurt an arm that had been healing from a previous injury. After a little first aid, she got up and back on her bike. She may have been 70, but she was tough. And she loved that bike and bicycling.
I could also tell that she loved WomanTours as a community more with each year. We all watched her blossom into the confident, kind, funny, caring and loving person she was on this year’s tour. My heart goes out to the women who have biked with her and known her through the years with WomanTours. And my heart goes out to her friends and family at home.
She died doing what she loved, so I try to remember that to make the loss easier.
I received an email yesterday from Marissa who is about to do her first tour with us. She’s new to biking and is madly training to get in shape for the tour. I emailed her, “Isn’t the biking fun?” And she replied, “Its more than fun, it's a whole new sense of freedom!”
Sometimes that freedom can be all too fleeting. Be careful out there. Wear bright colors, bike defensively and cherish every moment. I am honored to have known Barbara and to have biked with her. I will miss her.
Withlacoochee Winter Ride – December 1, 2012
5 years ago