Sunflower Cycling News: December 2014

Sunflower Cycling NewsThe Sunflower Cycling News is a periodic publication of Kansas Cyclist, featuring a compendium of hand-picked bicycling-related news items from Kansas and elsewhere.

The following is a recap of recent bicycling news from the region, as well as a look ahead to upcoming rides, races, and bicycling events coming up.

Editor’s Note: It’s been awhile since an edition of the Sunflower Cycling News has been posted, a very long while indeed. So this edition will be an attempt to catch up, and will will primarily feature some of the more significant stories from 2014 that were missed during radio silence…



Bicycling News from Kansas

Cyclists Killed

On August 13th, Cal Melick, age 66 of Lawrence was killed on a county road near Lawrence, struck head-on by a motorist making an illegal pass of another vehicle. Cal had been a fixture on area roads for more than 40 years and was regarded as as a role model for other other cyclists due to his safe and steady riding style. No word on charges against the driver.

Rhonda Thompson, age 59, of Pittsburg, was killed on Sunday, August 31st near the town of Opolis. She was struck from behind by Danielle Kaye Drake, age 27, of Joplin. Rhonda, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001, was training to ride the Bike MS: Ozarks Ride the following weekend. No word on charges against the driver.

Salina Bicyclist Killer Receives Light Sentence

Dennis Grider, the hit-and-run driver who killed Gail Kline in 2013, was convicted in August of misdemeanor vehicular homicide and a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident. In October, he was sentenced to 60 days in Saline County Jail, given 36 months of probation after the jail time, ordered not to drive, ordered to perform 40 hours of community service, and to pay $193 in court costs, a $200 DNA testing fee, a $120 probation fee and $375 in restitution for witness costs.

Mr. Grider was given leniency by the court, despite driving when he was not able to see and then driving away and attempting to conceal his crime. “It was clear to the court that Mr. Grider had significant medical issues with his eyes that resulted in the death of an innocent woman,” Judge Jared Johnson said. “He should have seen her; he should have seen the debris from the wreck; he should have seen the evidence on his van, but the court believes his eyes were so significantly impaired that he didn’t notice any of that.” Grider told the judge he has “great remorse and anguish”.

Kansas Has Some Of The Best Bike Shops in America

America's Best Bike Shops 2014Each year, the National Bicycle Dealers Association publishes a list of America’s Best Bike Shops. The 2014 list includes:

We’re proud to have these great shops in Kansas!

R.I.P. Joel Dyke, Kansas Cycling Icon

Joel Dyke, a prominent member of the Kansas City area bicycling community, and co-founder of the Dirty Kanza 200 gravel race, passed away on December 28th, due to an accident in his home workshop. The outpouring of grief, for Joel and his family, was immediate and heartfelt. A fund has been set up to help Joel’s family cope with the expenses: BigGrin.org, and a subsequent memorial ride saw hundreds of cyclists riding through a gray frigid day to pay their respects.

Learn more: U.S. cycling community stricken by multiple tragedies over Christmas weekend, A Tribute to Joel Dyke, Cycling community remembers DK200 co-founder, It Was a Helluva Funeral



If you have a news item or upcoming event you’d like to share, please contact Kansas Cyclist with details.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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