I received some sad news over the weekend: Nick Venuto, a California cyclist whom I met briefly in the fall of 2009 at the outset of a trans-continental bicycle trip, was killed May 31 in San Diego as he was riding his bike home from work.
Members of our cross-country group also met Nick’s parents, Nick and Judi Venuto of Austin, at a party in Austin hosted by my brother-in-law and his wife about halfway through our trip along the southern tier of the United States.
“Nick had become quite an accomplished bike rider, doing double centuries, and having earned the California Triple Crown jersey by completing three of those in one season,” John wrote of his nephew in an e-mail.
“In a sense he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and the accident had little to do with the fact he was riding a bike, and in another sense it had everything to do with the fact that he was riding a bike,” John wrote.
“He was on a separated, dedicated bikepath that parallels an east-west freeway north of San Diego, the 56 or Ted Williams Freeway. A driver lost control of her car, veered off the freeway, went across some landscaping, flipped, and landed on the bikepath, hitting two riders.
“Nick died on the spot and the other rider was critically injured, but is recovering. The driver had minor injuries. Nick was 40, in his prime in his career as a financial executive, married, two kids 12 and 8. Just awful.”
A memorial bike ride and walk for Nick will be held July 9 in San Diego. For any readers of this blog who live in the San Diego area and wish to particpate, the event begins 8:30 a.m. in the south parking lot of San Diego’s Westview High School. The distance of the ride will be 10.7 miles, and the walk 2.6 miles.
Nick’s brother, Tony, has created a memorial website for Nick, which has information on the July 9 ride/walk, a selection of photos and an obituary with highlights of Nick’s life and cycling career.
In his e-mail, Nick’s uncle offered some wise parting words: “So be safe out there and enjoy every moment like it could be your last.”