[messengers] Memorial bike ride held in honour of fallen courier

Date: 30 Aug 2010 13:11:32 +0200
From: Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx>


Memorial bike ride held in honour of fallen courier 

   

Friends gather on anniversary of Darcy Sheppard’s death

   

   

Globe and Mail, August 30, 2010

   

   

By Adrian Morrow 

   

   

For some, the withdrawing of charges against Michael Bryant
in May marked the end of the story that began with the deadly altercation
between the former Ontario 
attorney general and bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard last summer. 

   

But Toronto ’s
couriers are determined to keep Mr. Sheppard’s memory alive, paying tribute to
him on Sunday, two days before the anniversary of his death. 

   

At 1 p.m., about 50 people gathered on Bloor Street near Bay for a memorial bike
ride. It was near here that Mr. Bryant struck the back wheel of Mr. Sheppard’s
bike, prompting the courier to grab onto the side of the car. As the car drove
off, Mr. Sheppard struck a mailbox and fell to the ground. He died in hospital. 

   

While those at the memorial acknowledged Mr. Sheppard had
his troubles – drug addiction, alcoholism and a some fraud charges – they said
these tell only one side of the story. Couriers remembered their fallen friend
as a hard-working joker, full of frenetic energy that he invested in his demanding
job and in maintaining his bike. 

   

Mr. Sheppard’s father, Allan Sheppard, travelled from Edmonton to ride his
son’s bike – a slim, Italian model designed for street riding, plastered with
stickers, its tires worn from heavy use – in the memorial. He said he had been
prepared last year to believe that his son was responsible for the altercation
with Mr. Bryant, but that the couriers had persuaded him there was more to the
story. 

   

“I’ve gone through many crises with my son, so this wasn’t
the first. Unfortunately, it was the last,” recalled Mr. Sheppard, his grey
hair tied in a neat ponytail under a bicycle helmet. “It was the response of
his friends and his courier friends, who made me take a second look at this.” 

   

In part, the memorial was about providing a counter-point to
the dropping of Mr. Bryant’s charges. Many had harsh words for the justice
system, maintaining that a full trial was necessary to determine what exactly
happened the night of Mr. Sheppard’s death. 

   

It was also about remembering Mr. Sheppard’s life and the
happy times he’d shared with his fellow couriers. 

   

“He would say ‘if I look good, we look good’, then I’d turn
around and say ‘do your fly up!’” recalled Brian Harris, an 18-year veteran of
the courier business, who worked with Mr. Sheppard. 

   

For many, the memorial was a chance to highlight the dangers
of cycling in the city, a shared hazard that bonds the members of the courier
community, and solidifies their kinship with Mr. Sheppard. 

   

“I was terrified for a week after [Mr. Sheppard’s death],”
said his friend Marli Epp, a fellow courier who organized the memorial. “Every
time a horn honked, I’d be afraid that you could be run down at any moment.” 

   

His girlfriend Misty Bailey marvelled at how they had all
come together for him. 

   

“They consider him part of the family,” she said. “It’s hit
home for them.”

   

  

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