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

The Premier Hotel on Summerland’s Main Street and the taxi were owned by Bill and Lydia Johnston. Today, the building is Sass Fashions in Summerland. H.S. Kenyon, who moved the building to Summerland from Midway, continued with building construction. His family now operates Greyback Construction. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Two former Summerland hotel buildings have been moved over the years

Transport of buildings is part of community’s history

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

The Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs is inviting everyone to join them in celebrating Pink Shirt Day safely at home. (Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs)
Pink Shirt Day re-imagined as COVID-19 pandemic continues

The Boys and Girls Clubs are introducing Breakfast in a Box

Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)
Second town hall for Sickle Point on Jan. 27

The first town hall was cut short due to technical issues

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read