Roman Manko, member of our club and club president passed away in a tragic cycling accident on April 5, 2015
Remembering Roman Manko
Roman was a lifelong cyclist who joined the DCC in 2009. He had an immediate impact on the club. From the beginning he made an effort to get to know everyone, host rides, was involved in all the club functions and he was always quick to help out a new club member, or anyone in need. When club members describe Roman they use words such as vibrant, visible, smiling, upbeat, positive, kind and generous. One word often used to describe Roman was loud! He could always be heard in a crowd.
Roman and the Sport of Cycling
Roman had an incredible love for the sport. He was a walking cycling encyclopedia with knowledge of all the grand tours and the participants. Roman also had what must have been the largest professional cycling clothing kit collection one person could possibly have. Roman would often let us know when he had ordered a new kit, but would never mention it when when wearing it for the first time. He would just show up with a slightly different “proud” look about him.
Roman wanted to be the best he could be at any sport or hobby he took up such as cycling, darts or woodworking, and probably many other aspects of his life. He loved to push himself.
One example of this is when he signed up for a weekly Sunday morning 2 hour spin class for the first time. Finding the first class very intense, Roman climbed off his bike declaring “I can’t do this…!”. After taking a breather, looking around at everyone else still on their bikes, he climbed back on and said “I can do this!” He attended every class for the rest of the winter, pushing himself, determined, and wanting to move forward.
On rides Roman was always a leader, never a sweeper. He had certain determination to increase his average speed over a ride or over the course of the year. If the group was going too slow, he would drift off the front protecting his own average speed. Most suspected he was sending a quiet message to the rest of us saying, “come on you guys, you’re being really pokey today!”
Roman was renowned for rarely missing a ride, showing up for Saturday, Sunday and the two weekday rides on a regular basis. He would log 10,000 km in a season. That’s like riding from here to Regina and back, twice!
Roman always made everybody feel welcome In the parking lot before every ride, Roman would make a point of going around and saying hello to everyone that pulled in, whether with a handshake, a greeting or a shout across the parking lot. It wasn’t only at rides, one time when Roman went to the bike show he knew someone who was working a booth. He made a point of looking for the booth, saying hello to the person and continuing with some conversation. Even though that meant standing in the middle of a women’s cycling clothing booth for 10 minutes!
Being a car enthusiast, Roman could recognize people by the make and model of the car they drove, honking and waving at everyone he knew.
He loved sharing a good laugh. Roman liked to find a really good joke and circulate it by e-mail. He was always quick to bring up a funny picture or joke on his phone. Sometimes it seemed like Roman must have spent every moment off his bike searching the internet for the next great laugh.
Roman’s sudden passing is a reminder never to take friendship for granted. On every club ride it will now feel like someone is missing. In spirit, however, Roman will be with us covering every mile. For many of us every time we park our bike at Tim Hortons, or at a bakery somewhere on a country road, or raise a glass of Guinness at the end of a long, hard ride, Roman will be remembered.
He wasn’t the strongest,
he wasn’t the weakest,
he wasn’t the fastest,
he wasn’t the slowest,
but you know what he was?
He was One of a Kind!