People across Canada to ride in honour of Wyoming cyclist who died Saturday
Natalie Neville can’t believe friends and neighbours and total strangers from across Canada are going to take up a cycling fundraiser where her wife left off.
The Wyoming woman says it is comforting as she and her son, Oliver, try to deal with Lori’s death.
The 34 year-old Wyoming woman who was part of a nation-wide effort to raise money for childhood cancer research was killed while she was cycling in St. Clair Township.
Around 10 am Saturday, police, paramedics and the St. Clair Fire Department were called to Petrolia Line for a fatal accident involving a bicycle and vehicle. Lori Neville was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Natalie says Lori began cycling again during the pandemic after an eight year break. She would find challenges on line to keep her motivated in her goal to be as fit as possible. The couple had hoped to have another child.
The Great Cycle Challenge Canada to raise money for research into childhood cancers fit the bill. She began cycling in Lambton County in early August and had already clocked 299 km when she was on her ride Saturday. She had just 201 more to complete the challenge and had already raised almost $1,000.
Natalie Neville says Lori was headed to Corunna that morning along the newly-paved Petrolia Line. The sun was on her back, says Natalie, and she can’t figure out what might have happened. OPP are still investigating and haven’t released any details of the accident yet, even to the family.
Natalie says Lori was a careful cyclist, sometimes heading out by car with her family to travel the back roads in search of a route with nice straight roads and few cars that she could take later in the week.
She planned ahead, Natalie says, because she had run-ins with drivers before. Lori told her at one point a driver, frustrated because he couldn’t pass the cyclist on an overpass, sped past her and then hit the shoulder throwing stones at Lori. “That was probably the worst one,” says Natalie.
“She said that there is a lot of overpasses she would cross, but she would just walk along the edge instead – over as far as she could – so that way she didn’t have to worry about that.
“She had like everything. She wore bright shirts. She had lights on the back of her bike and on her helmet, like flashing lights. She has a ankle bracelet that have multiple flashing lights on it are reflective,” says Natalie..
“So she definitely could have been seen. I mean, I don’t know what happened still.”
That makes it all the more difficult to try to explain to their son, Oliver, where his mom is.
“When I first told him, he asked me where she was. I said that she had gone to heaven because she got hurt and the doctors couldn’t fix it. So then he asked me to just take her to a new doctor.”
The loss of her partner and making funeral arrangements in the age of COVID-19 have been difficult but Natalie says she’s be overwhelmed by the support of the cycling community. Mike Bryck of Toronto is also part of the Great Cycle Challenge and has organized a memorial ride in Toronto Wednesday to finish Lori’s goal of 500 kms. At press time, another 132 people across Canada were expected to join the ride.
Family and friends in Wyoming planned to join at the Reece’s Corners to Wyoming Trail at 5:30 pm Wednesday, too.
Lori’s fundraising page has also become a tribute to her and a place to give memorial donations. Natalie says Saturday when Lori went out on that fateful ride, she had raised just under $1,000. By Tuesday, Lori’s page had more than $10,000 in donations.
“We probably don’t even know half of the people, which is so generous people that don’t even know us would support her and do things honouring her. There’s a lot of cyclists from all across Canada that have donated as well just in memory of her and acknowledging cycling community that was surrounding her.
“I can’t thank people enough for donating to beat her goal.”
And she asks, that drivers learn from Lori’s death, keeping an eye out for cyclists on Lambton’s roads.