Daphne Toumbanakis had almost 10,000 km of cycling experience. (Contributed photo)

Daphne Toumbanakis had almost 10,000 km of cycling experience. (Contributed photo)

Cyclist killed in Maple Ridge was just beginning a cross-Canada ride

Daphné Toumbanakis, 24, was cycling across Canada when hit by a pick-up truck in Maple Ridge, Monday

  • Jul. 24, 2020 3:45 p.m.

Sylvain Karpinski said his close friend Daphné Toumbanakis was a real sweetheart.

“She spread love everywhere she went,” he said. “She was the kind of person that was really happy, and very kind to everybody.

“I think she would have changed the world a bunch if she was here for a longer time.”

Toumbanakis, 24, was struck and killed by a pickup in Maple Ridge on the evening of Monday, July 20. She was at the beginning of a cross-Canada cycling trip.

Karpinski said she was a cycling enthusiast who had travelled across the world on bikes for the last seven years.

“She rode through Turkey, Greece, ex-Yugoslavia, Poland and a bunch of countries in Europe,” he said.

“She also travelled through Central America and Columbia,” he added. “After almost 10,000 kilometres of road trips on a bicycle, she was very experienced.”

Daphne was a fan of tango dancing and was studying international relations. (Contributed photo)

Daphne was a fan of tango dancing and was studying international relations. (Contributed photo)

According to her friend, the last thing Toumbanakis was afraid of was cars.

“When she rode through Panama for instance, there was heavy traffic, and no shoulder,” he said. “On Monday morning she called me and was asking me how to handle the grizzly bears in the Rockies, so that was her concern on the day she died.”

READ MORE: Cyclist, 23, struck and killed in Maple Ridge crash

The young woman had only recently come back to Canada after spending a year studying in Bogota.

Karpinski said helping those less fortunate than her was a passion of Toumbanakis’.

“She was studying international relations,” he said. “She wanted to work with refugees and immigrants, and was really engaged in social discrimination and things like that.

“She was really active, in terms of social work.”

In addition to cycling, her hobbies included tango dancing, which she had practised everywhere she went, amassing a tight-knit community around her.

“When you dance the tango, you make a lot of friends,” Karpinski said.

Despite travelling to many countries, Toumbanakis had not seen quite enough of the one she was born in, Karpsinki pointed out. So, on her break from school, she decided to ride from Vancouver to her home town of Montreal, where her parents and sister live.

“When you travel by bike, you can enjoy each metre of the road,” he said. “You can cross everything; forest, mountains, small towns, big cities. You can really get to know a country.”

The young cyclist’s sister, Melina, 28, will fly with Karpinski from Montreal to B.C. early next week.

They plan on creating a memorial to Toumbanakis at the spot where she died. The pair will pick up the bike she was riding when struck, and fix it up as best they can, then spray paint it white.

The process is called ghost biking and has been used for many years to honour fallen cyclists.

They also plan on attaching a stainless steel plate with some information about Toumbanakis, and have started a Go-Fund me, so they can buy a large wreath of flowers at the site.

Ridge Meadows RCMP are still looking for anyone who might have seen the crash on Lougheed Highway between 240th Street and Spilsbury Street at around 5:30 to 5:45 p.m.

Witnesses are asked to contact Cst. Ethier of Ridge Meadows RSTT at 604-463-6251 and refer to file number 2020-15594.



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

car accidentCyclingMaple Ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

The bus shelter across from the police detachment is one of ten smashed Jan. 17. (Monique Tamminga)
Glass smashed out of 10 bus shelters in Penticton

One of the bus shelters is right across from the RCMP detachment

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new homeless housing

BC Housing is holding a virtual info meeting Tuesday evening, Jan. 19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

This dog is going to the SPCA if its owner isn't found. (RDNO Dog Control photo)
Owners sought after dog ‘dumped’ near North Okanagan school

Pup is now either getting adopted or going to the SPCA

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Most Read