Tributes are being paid to Mike Hall, the ultracyclist killed earlier today in a road traffic collision during the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in Australia. Organisers of the event confirmed that the 35-year-old from Yorkshire was the victim and have cancelled the coast-to-coast event.
A Just Giving page has been set up to help support his partner and family, and a tribute ride is planned for Sunday in Sydney – the city Hall was heading towards when he was killed while riding on the Monaro Highway, south of Canberra, at 6.20am.
Hall was a towering figure in the world of ultracycling, not just for his riding, but also for the events he organised – this year sees the fifth edition of the Transcontinental Race, which he founded in 2013 – and the inspiration and encouragement he gave to others.
He won the TransAm Race twice and the Tour Divide, and holds the records for completing both events in the shortest time. In 2012, he won the World Cycle Race in 91 days, 18 hours, faster than the then Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle.
Hall, who lived in Wales, was a supporter of Newborns Vietnam, and in 2013 and 2015 led the Vietnam Challenge Ride organised by Cycle A Difference to raise funds for the charity, which aims to “improve access to and quality of newborn care in the poorest rural areas” of the country.
In a statement, the organisers of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, which began in Fremantle, Western Australia a fortnight ago and in which Hall was vying with the Belgian rider Kristof Allegaert to be the first to reach the finish at Sydney Opera House today, said:
The Indian Pacific Wheel Race joins the family, loved ones and friends of Mike Hall in mourning his death. Mike was killed in an incident with a vehicle this morning.
Our deepest sympathies go to Mike’s family and to all those who knew him. Mike will be sorely missed.
Mike revelled in the spirit and adventure of ultra-endurance cycling events. Mike’s efforts in both raising money and the spirits of others were tremendous and he leaves an incredible legacy.
This tragedy is a great loss to the global cycling community.
A tribute ride is planned in Sydney for Sunday. More details will be released as soon as practicable.
Allegaert posted a picture to Twitter this morning from outside Sydney Opera House in honour of his friend and rival.
— allegaert kristof (@AllegaertK) March 31, 2017
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said: "What a terrible tragedy. Cyclists who have crossed the continent as part of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race are due to arrive in Sydney tonight but it won’t be in celebration – it will be in mourning.
"My thoughts are with this cyclist’s family and friends and with the IPWR community."
Hall's bike sponsor, Kinesis, paid tribute to him in a post on Instagram.
We received the news early this morning and since have been shocked and stunned by tragedy. Mike was more than a rider, he was a friend and inspiration to us. At this time our thoughts go to Patricia Hall and Anna. This is not the time for more questions. Ride your bikes, hold your love ones tight and remember to enjoy the gift of life. Mike was taken too soon, but doing something he loved. #IPWR
Round-the-world cyclist Juliana Buhring, who was also taking part in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, posted a video to Facebook in which she spoke of her shock of learning about the death of someone she described as her "friend and mentor."
Ultracyclist James Hayden, who said on Twitter, “Mike gave me everything I am,” has set up a Just Giving page “to raise money to help Anna (Mike's partner), and Mike's family in this difficult time.”
He wrote: “Mike will be remembered by us all for his kindness, good heart and bravery.
“Mike was a shining light in many of our lives, enabling us to find the best of ourselves.
“My sincere thoughts and love are with Anna, and Mike's Family.
“Keep pedalling Mike.”
One of the cyclists due to take part in this year’s Transcontinental Race is road.cc contributor, Jo Burt.
He said: “I only met him a few times, he was a very quiet and humble man, he'd never mention his achievements and to look at him you'd never know all that he did.
“For most people just doing the riding he did would be enough, but to organise a race to enable, and inspire, people to do something similar was something incredible.
“Absolutely one of a kind. Thanks for the opportunity, Mike.”
Another member of road.cc staff who met him on several occasions is John Stevenson, who said: "One of the best of us has been taken from us far too young.
"Mike Hall packed more into his 35 years than most of us can hope to achieve in a lifetime, but was always gracious, smiling and friendly – even when he’d just ridden round the world.
"He’d done exactly that when I first met him, smashing the previous round the world cycling record to win the World Bicycle Race in 2012. If he was bothered that Guinness subsequently changed the rules so his record wasn’t official, he never let it show. He’d done it, and that was enough for Mike.
"His organisation of the Transcontinental Race demonstrated Mike’s deep sense of fair play, as well as his ability to take a classically British crazy idea and make it happen.
"I was lucky enough to bump into him a few more times over the following years, hearing him talk about his round-the-world ride, at the pre-ride party for that first Transcontinental and sharing a beer at the Eurobike show afterwards, and at other trade shows.
"Some people add a glow to the world just by being in it, and Mike was one of them. He had time to talk to everyone and greeted them all like old friends.
"I suspect everyone who knew Mike even from a brief meeting feels like they lost a friend this morning; I know his close friends and family will be devastated.
"My thoughts are particularly with his mum Patricia, who was always supportive of her son’s crazy adventures, and his partner Anna.
"I have a PedalEd cycling cap from the Transcontinental that Mike gave me when I last saw him. I’ll be wearing it this weekend, and thinking of an inspiring human being."
The thoughts of all of us at road.cc are with Mike’s partner, family and friends.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.