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.
The van was traveling at a speed fast enough to dislodge a concrete column from the ground,
then struck George and threw him off the road into a field, cutting his bike in half.
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.
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.”
“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.”
Photos from patrisnews.gr