Death of a Cyclist


Words by Matt Winslow. Illustration by Stephen Haynes.

“How can they still be asleep? It’s CHRISTMAS! Every year they get more and more interesting. I can’t wait!”

“I hope she likes it. How can any gift be good enough for the mother of my children, my lover and my best friend?”

“Ugh, more snow. I guess I am on the trainer again today.”

“Wow, look at this mess: wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons… I need another cup of coffee.”

“I hate myself for eating so much. That was delicious.”

“These pant are getting tight. I feel like I have been sweating turkey fat since Thanksgiving. Once we get through New Years, I can get serious about getting back into shape.”

“Still snow and ice. The only thing I like less than the trainer is the feeling of slowly widening on the couch when I don’t exercise. Well, that and running.”

“I can’t wait for the bike shop to open this weekend. I hope the guys are having a good couple of days off. I’m glad my mother-in-law has taken to getting me gift certificates. Maybe I’ll get some tires.”

“I hope I can drop the weight this spring. It really is harder in your 40s.”

“Why is it even fun to work on bikes? If I didn’t have to work, I would almost have enough time for all of the things I want to do. I’m going to spin the wheel again and watch it go.”

“Light, finally. The forecast is promising. The roads look good. No wind. The temps look good for an early afternoon ride.”

“See you guys later.”

“God, it feels so good to move.”

“Geez, c’mon guy, I’m in my lane. Give me three feet.”

“I wonder if I can make the loop in under 90 minutes.”

“Wow, you can ever taste diesel exhaust.”

“They put a bike lane here, can’t they sweep it once in a while?”

“I wonder if there’ll be a group ride next week. I need to remember to send an email when I get home.”

“WHAT?!?!? Oh God… Pavement is so cold, so hard. Who’s touching me? That hand feels good. I hope my frame isn’t bent. Oh God. I can’t die here. I still have more to do. Oh God. I love them so much…”

I never met Tom Palermo. I first read his name under a headline about an Episcopal Bishop being accused in the hit and run death of a Maryland cyclist. That’s my church, my home state, and my tribe. I was heartbroken to watch the case unfold. By all accounts he was an adoring husband and father, a talented frame builder, and a beloved member of his cycling community. Two weeks after she killed Tom, the driver was charged with a number of offenses, including DUI with a .22 B.A.C., texting while driving, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Please consider contributing to the fund for Tom Palermo’s kids here.

Editor’s note: This review originally appeared in Issue #34 of Bicycle Times. To make sure you never miss an issue, order a subscription.

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