Our good friend Adrian Hands, who suffered from ALS for the past several years but who carried on with great enthusiasm, has passed away, his son Ian has announced.
My father passed away today. He meant everything to me, and I know he meant a lot to some of the folks on this list. What should a Yo Adrian! admirer do now? Ride a bike of course. Personally I plan to do just that.
Someone close told me to be sure and find time to let myself heal... I'll heal on the bike I said, and I will have plenty of time indeed. Can't think of a better way to clear my head. I think Yo A would approve.
My dad LOVED his friends so much! Thanks everyone who befriended him.
Smile a smile for him please.
Adrian was the soul of our randonneuring group, and he'll be with us on all future brevets.
Last year, the North Carolina Randonneurs set up the Adrian Hands Society in Adrian's honor. From that site:
Adrian Hands is a tireless bicycle advocate and 2003 Paris Brest Paris Ancien who embodies the philosophy that every ride is an adventure. He has traveled far and wide to pursue his love of randonneuring, including brevets in China and Bulgaria. He successfully completed PBP in 2003 with a time of 88:55. His ride report of that adventure stands as one of the best accounts ever of this legendary event.
In 2005, Adrian was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disorder, later determined to be ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), which caused him to lose a significant amount of upper extremity strength. In his characteristic joie de vivre, Adrian switched to a recumbent cycle and successfully qualified for PBP in 2007. Although he retired in Loudeac during the return trip from Brest in 2007 his courage, determination and adventurous spirit should inspire us all.
May Yo Adrian rest in peace, and our thoughts go out to his family and worldwide friends.
Edit: Sridhar posted this to the NC Rando listserv.
Edit 2-4-11: A note from Dr. Codfish to members of the Adrian Hands Society:
My visual is Adrian dropping off the back; as we pull away I look back and see that smile as he contemplates a turn to follow another, less traveled but no less interesting route.
Others will better eulogize him than I. We never met so I wasn't blessed with that warm smile and those discussions on bike philosophy and culture. But we did correspond and I read his writing, enough that I could see where our thoughts intersected, ran parallel or where we diverged, I felt connected. Why does it matter that Adrian is gone? He was part of what we loved. Because of the unique way in which he engaged in, embraced, and championed bike culture, and that small jolt of 'little kid' joy we all get whenever we swing a leg over and push off for another dose of bike time. He was one of us and more, he was a model of sorts and in that we loved him.
A model you say? Adrian stands forever as evidence that you don't have to be at the front to lead. It is not only the Lance Armstrong's of the world that inspire, that bring others to the world of pedals, and cogs, and spokes. How many can ever win the Tour de France? More by millions can ride at the back of the pack, can share a kind word or smile, can gently point out that a bicycle might be a perfectly reasonable means to 'get there'. So long as I can remember that, remember that the 'wrong' turn might actually be the right choice if I can adjust my notion of what the goal might be, then I will always have Adrian with me.
A long ride is definitely in order, but consider making it a slow ride, and forget about a cue sheet or your usually contemplation route. when you get out there a way, start looking for that turn, up that road you have always ridden past. Find a place you haven't seen before, go there, make that turn and ride that road, slowly. Really see it, and you will always remember Adrian whenever you find yourself on a road you may have discovered accidentally. Perhaps in his memory I'll make a point of absentmindedly leave something behind along the way.