July 18, 2018 09:24 AM
The family of a St. Cloud bicyclist killed while racing across the country has a strong message for drivers everywhere.
Sixty-four-year-old John Egbers died after he was hit by a vehicle on June 14 in the middle of the Trans Am Bike Race.
As a retired Air Force engineer, Egbers found cycling to be his passion.
"People half his age in their 30s were trying to beat the 64-year-old up the hill," said Susan Egbers, John's wife.
His hunger for the ultimate test grew. He wanted to tackle the 2018 Trans Am Bike Race that is 4,300 miles long, stretching across 10 different states. His mission was to finish in 24 days. He attempted the race in 2017 but had to quit early because of an injury.
"I think he was up for the challenge," Kyia Anderson, John's friend, said.
However, while racing on a rural road in Kansas, a vehicle came from behind and the driver accidentally hit Egbers on his bike.
"It seems so unreal. I was in the hospital with him, he was paralyzed from the chest down and many other injuries," Egbers said.
After more than three weeks in the hospital, Egbers took his last breath.
"It's not fair; it's not fair at all," Anderson said. "I looked in the mirror, and I could see his lips going, 'Goodbye. Goodbye,'" Egbers said.
Last year, a different cyclist died during this same race. Twenty minutes before the crash that would end up taking Egber's life, he stopped at the memorial for that other cyclist in the middle of his race.
Back home in St. Cloud, loved ones are remembering the 64-year-old where he used to work at Revolution Cycle and Ski.
"He's just one of those guys that you constantly strive to be a little bit," said Ben Doom, John's co-worker and friend.
The Thursday rides he helped organize will continue.
"He really wanted to make it so everyone could ride together," Anderson said.
Now his family, friends and co-workers have a message for all drivers.
"Our roads are unsafe now because people are distracted," Egbers said.
"We're not a video game - we're real people," Anderson said.
"It opens both cyclists' and drivers' eyes," Doom said.
Even though Egbers is gone, his wife Susan hopes her loss can maybe save a life.
"Just drive your car and watch what you're doing," Egbers said. "There are too many lives at stake, too many."
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with the costs of medical expenses.
Updated: July 18, 2018 09:24 AM
Created: July 17, 2018 05:22 PM
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