Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Tha ta poume, Vigor

On Saturday morning, like many mornings of the year, George went for an organized ride with 140 others who shared his love of cycling. It was 15:30 in the afternoon and a light rain had fallen earlier, but visibility was crystal clear as he entered the last 20 kilometers of a 200-km brevet.

Near Pyrgos on a two-lane highway, a 33-year-old driver prepared to overtake vehicles in front of him by accelerating and using the lane with vehicles approaching from the opposite direction — a common occurrence  in Greece, where impatience and “freedom” take precedence over maturity, respect and responsibility.

van

The van was traveling at a speed fast enough to dislodge a concrete column from the ground,

pole

then struck George and threw him off the road into a field, cutting his bike in half.

giorgo-bike

This bike was his partner in a sport he found joy, riding and competing alongside friends lucky to not lose their lives this day, but forever scarred by witnessing his horrific and untimely death. He was 31.

To cycling friends he was known as “Vigor.” He had eyes that rivaled the blue of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful seas, and it was only days ago we basked in his easy smile. The next time we see him will be in the afterlife.

I know the story of George’s last moments because he was a friend and classmate of many friends I consider my family, and I feel their hearts breaking with shock and sorrow as he is laid to rest. This post is for them.

In Memoriam

His friends created a video in his memory. The Greek text translates to: “Dedication to our friend George Vidos – Vigor, who wrongly left from this hard life. You will always be in our hearts.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvDQL_h1-ms]

“Up there where you went, they needed an angel and they took you far from us, however they didn’t ask us if we needed you. The bike was your life…and it was this that took you away.”

Related articles

O Vigor efyge” (in Greek) – Ποδηλάτρης
“Hobby Thanatou (in Greek) – Patris News (Front page, page 9)
Bike + Greece = Yikes” (in English)

Photos from patrisnews.gr

10 Comments »

  Barbayiannis wrote @ April 13th, 2009 at 22:23

Thanks for posting that, and I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

Greece isn’t the only place where it’s no serious crime to kill someone as long as you do it with an automobile, but it’s worse that way than a lot of places.

  Cheryl wrote @ April 14th, 2009 at 01:43

I’m so sorry to learn the news Kat…
it’s so unfortunate to lose a young, healthy active member of society.

  thundera wrote @ April 14th, 2009 at 01:45

Καλό Ταξίδι….

  rositta wrote @ April 14th, 2009 at 01:56

I am sorry to read about your friend George. When we drive in Greece we do so as if we were here in Canada and always get honked at by impatient drivers. Here that drive would be charged with careless driving causing death, and he’d go to jail. Of course that wouldn’t bring your friend back. It is hoped he felt no pain…hugs

  Max wrote @ April 14th, 2009 at 09:29

ο Γιώργος 11/04/09, 20 χιλιόμετρα πριν τερματίσει το brevet του Πύργου, αποφάσισε να πάρει άλλο δρόμο… καλές πεταλιές να έχεις εκεί που πας.

  Demitris wrote @ April 16th, 2009 at 21:29

A tragic loss of a young man’s life. I wish strength & courage to all those he leaves behind.

  Going Crunchy wrote @ April 17th, 2009 at 01:39

That just sucks. Sending a thought to the winds of God and karma………………now.

  DD wrote @ April 17th, 2009 at 06:09

This is so absolutely, utterly sad. Although I should be immune by now, I do get angry at this continuing, senseless loss of young lives in the hands of such criminally behaving drivers. I am so sorry for Yorgo. His death and the certain non-punishment of his killer tell the story of “modern” Greece in the most dramatic way.

  melusina wrote @ April 20th, 2009 at 22:31

I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, Kat. I see people driving like this all the time on our narrow country roads, it makes me so angry. No one should lose their life in this way. A tragic loss way too sson.

  Kat wrote @ April 20th, 2009 at 23:07

Sadly, much of what everyone said is true, and we accept that we may lose our lives for doing something as simple as partaking in exercise or walking down the street, where you can be hit by a car on the sidewalk though you are nowhere near the curb. I minimize my risk by not cycling or running here, though there is no way I can avoid walking or riding in a car. I realize things happen everywhere in the world, but I’ve never had as many close calls anywhere else in the world than my years in Greece.

May George and everyone like him RIP. Thank you to everyone who sent their condolences and kind thoughts.

Your comment

HTML-Tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>