On 26th May 2011, at around 8pm, my good friend Rob Jefferies was killed in a collision with a car while out training with a friend, near Wareham, Dorset. Rob was a huge character and a massive force for good in cycling, a real individual, super time triallist and track rider and yet an Everyday Cyclist in every sense imaginable.
On Friday, the cycling community woke up to the terrible news and since then tributes have been pouring into both Rob’s facebook page and the online message board of his cycling club, Poole Wheelers.
Today I went out on my bike for the first time since hearing the news, taking a ride around my favourite routes in the city; taking the backroads into the city centre, then along the waterfront and through the parks, linking up with the Loopline and heading for home. I hoped that the meditative rhythm of the cranks and the wheels would help me to remember, help me to forget, help me to come to terms with the sudden, cruel taking of a good friend and great man.For the whole ride, Rob was with me; advice he had given me, the too-few rides we’d had together, the long, rambling conversations we’d shared and the many laughs we’d had in the six or so years we’d known each other; all of these things entered and exited my consciousness, like the air whistling through the spokes of my spinning wheels.
The last ride I’d had with Rob was back in May 2010, when I’d shared a wonderful ride on one of his favourite local routes, near his home, Swanage, Dorset. We rode up onto Ballard Down and out to Old Harry, as the summer rainclouds came in over the English Channel. I took this image of Rob cycling up toward the ridgeway along the Down – using photographic composition as a convenient excuse for the fact that the big man was massively outpacing me.
Ride on Rob, you’ll be sorely missed.