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)

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

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

Community engagement process launched to implement northern B.C. First Nation’s rights and title

Dogs are matched with the person, not the person matched to the dog – Prince Rupert SPCA

Prince Rupert SPCA does their due diligence in adopting dogs to suitable human companions

Photo Gallery: Memorial totem pole raising in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole stands in memory of Prince Rupert carvers mother on Second Ave. West

Province, feds, Wet’suwet’en announce progress in MOU talks

External community engagement process launched to help implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title

Memorial totem pole raised in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole was a two year project led by local carver Lyle Campbell

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Parkinson SuperWalk goes virtual throughout B.C. due to COVID-19

People encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood, along community trails, through parks, forests

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Most Read