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Ian Hibell: Death in Greece PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

THE DEATH OF IAN HIBELL

Barry and MargarIan_Hibell_(33).jpget Williamson

For more photographs of Ian, riding with us and at the home of cycling entrepreneur Andrew Hague, click: Ian Hibell

For more tributes to Ian's lifetime of achievement - the Economist's excellent obituary (by Anne Mustoe?), accounts of Ian's return to cycling after time out to nurse his aged mother, and his accounts of recent rides across Russia, South-east Asia and China, all on this website - click: A Life on the Road.

On 27 August 2008, whilst camping at Sakar Hills, near Harmanli, in South-east Bulgaria, we received the following email from Nic Henderson:

Dear Barry and Margaret,

If you haven't heard from other sources already it is my sad duty to inform you that Ian was killed in a cycling accident near Athens, Greece. This happened on the 23rd August at 6pm local time. Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news.

Ian's friend, Nic

We wrote the following email to friends who knew of Ian and his amazing life:

We are the sad bearers of the almost unbearable news that Ian Hibell has died.

He was killed in a cycling accident near Athens on the 23rd August at 6pm local time. His great friend and supporter, Nic Henderson, has just written to tell us. You will find a little more information on Nic's website: www.bikebrothers.co.uk.

The latest news we have seen on the web reads: 'The incident occurred on the Athens-Salonika highway near Nea Erithrea on Saturday afternoon. A Volkswagen car that hit the bike disappeared, but media reports said witnesses took down the car's registration number and a Greek driver was detained two hours later. The driver was to appear before a prosecutor on Sunday.'

Ian was Britain's greatest touring cyclist. He lived for the bicycle and for a life on the road, breaking his journeys only to earn money for the next one. He had ridden in almost every country in the world, including all the Pacific islands. He had ridden from Nord Kapp (the northernmost point of Europe) to Cape Town, crossing the Sahara alone, and then from Tierra del Fuego at the foot of the Americas to Alaska at the top, including the first crossing of the Darien Gap.

More recenIan_Hibell_in_Laos_MBT_JPeg.jpgtly, entering his eighth decade, Ian rode alone from Rotterdam to Vladivostok (through Mongolia and Siberia) and then from Bangkok to Vladivostok (via China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). The full story of these rides, including his diary of the last ride, and more on his remarkable life, are to be found On Our Website. The image shows Ian and his bike in their prime, in Laos in 2006.

Ian emailed us before he left the UK on his fateful ride to Athens, from where he was due to fly back to the UK. It was to have been the summer when he regained his fitness after spending time working on his cottage in Brixham, Devon.

It's a cliché to say that he died doing what he loved the most - cycling - but it is also horrible that a life as rich and full as his should be ended in a moment by an uncaring driver. We know Greece and we know Athens and it takes a person of Ian's experience and courage to ride there among the unskilled and uncontrolled traffic.

It was a privilege to have known him and worked with him, not least on his great journey from Bangkok to Vladivostok. Ian will always be remembered among cyclists and by all those who admire an outstanding person with unremitting fortitude. Ian had all the attributes of the great British explorers.

We will let you know where tributes to Ian are being gathered and whether a collection is being organised in his memory.

Best wishes

Barry and Margaret

The following tribute came in from Bill Pachis:

Greece was the last journey of the hero Ian Hibell! I feel so lucky I met you & heard your advice!

As I told you, you could be my grandfather. I really wish you could!

Your Last Unknown Friend. Goodbye!
''Rest in peace''