Event: 6 October 2013
We are holding the third Lewis Balyckyi Memorial Sportive this year on Sunday October 6. We started this event after our son, Lewis Balyckyi, was killed in January 2011 when out on a training ride near our home. He was 18 years old. He was killed instantly when a van overtook another van and hit him head on at approximately 60mph.
As if that wasn’t tragic enough it was all the more painful because he was due to go to race in France two weeks later with a semi-pro team.
We didn’t want Lewis to be just another statistic and wanted to do something in Lewis’ name, so we set up The Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund (registered charity 1150807). We wanted to help other young cyclists live their dream in the tough world of cycling; something Lewis didn’t get the chance to do.
We also wanted to educate people about the dangers on our roads with the ‘Look for Lewis’ campaign. This is a road safety campaign working in conjunction with Lancashire County Council road safety department. There is a lesson package available to schools online to educate children about the dangers on our roads. This includes Lewis’ story and has a video from the first police officer to arrive at Lewis’ collision site showing how harrowing it can be even for emergency workers.
There is also a display in the foyer of the road safety building in Leyland where drivers attend speed awareness courses. This includes the remains of Lewis’ bike and cycling helmet and is very hard hitting. This is backed up by the tutors incorporating Lewis’ story into the presentation and from what we have heard the message has been getting through.
Since the fund was set up in early 2011 we have achieved the following:-
Donated £1,000.00 to the NWAA (North West Air Ambulance) in 2011 and 2012, we think this is worth supporting as it is solely reliant on charity donations, and they regularly attend accidents involving cyclists and other road users. We are hoping to get the helicopter to attend on the day, but this is dependent on availability.
We sponsored a young cyclist from Yorkshire in 2012, Ashley Marshall, providing funding to enable him to continue racing and complete his studies.
In 2013 we have sponsored three young cyclists helping them take the next step into the professional world of cycling. Two of the cyclists, Tom Armstrong and Dan Whelan, are spending the racing season in Belgium racing against the best young riders in Europe. The other cyclist (Hannah Barnes) is racing here in the UK doing the National UCI tour series and other National events. All three are making a name for themselves in the world of cycling and would not have been able to race at this level without our funding.
To fund all this we stage a memorial sportive in early October, with three rides to cater for all abilities which take in Lewis’ favourite training rides around the Trough of Bowland.
Obviously the more people we can get to enter the better, we timed the event for the week after the Tour of Britain finishes, as some of Lewis’ friends now ride this event and would like to ride Lewis’ event too. So hopefully we will get some pro riders entering this year and us mere mortals can be able to say they have ridden with a pro, even if it’s just for a mile or two until they get dropped!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you would like any more information have a look at our website, www.lbtf.org . Our contact details are on there should you require any further information.