Update: Cyclist killed on Los Flores Canyon during Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride

More bad news.

Earlier today, I received word that a cyclist had been seriously injured during the Rapha Gentlemen’s Ride in celebration of Bike Effect‘s 1st anniversary, and had been airlifted out.

Unfortunately, when I returned home later today, I found word waiting from several sources that the rider did not survive his injuries.

According to an email on the Velo Club La Grange user the group, the rider — who I won’t name at this time, in case the next of kin haven’t been notified — was descending Los Flores Canyon Road near Hume Road above Malibu around 11:45 am when he lost control, and struck a wire guard barrier intended to keep cars from sliding off the road.

The writer says eye witnesses described it as a catastrophic accident, and notes that there was a doctor on hand; however, the cyclist did not regain consciousness before EMTs arrived.

So far, the only news reports misidentify the victim as a motorcyclist, based on a false report initial report from the CHP (see below).

This is the 60th traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County; this is also the 7th fatal solo collision since the first of the year.

Thanks to Chris K, Mark Elliot, Stanley E. Goldich and Todd Munson for information on the collision; my prayers for the victim, his family and loved ones.

Update: The L.A. Times says the victim, who has still not been publicly identified, was a 51-year old man from Laguna Beach, who was riding with his brother at the time. He was declared dead at UCLA Medical Center about an hour after he fell. However, the Times gets the time of the incident wrong, which occurred at 11:45 am, not just before midnight as they report.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as Robert Hyndman; read a moving letter from his brother in to comments below, or on my follow-up. There will also be a memorial ride for Hyndman sponsored by Bike Effects on the 13th.

Screen grab courtesy of Mark Elliot

18 comments

  1. Pholocity says:

    truly sad, sometimes in our exuberance we get in over our head, sometimes we walk away saying “whoa that was close” and the other time…well you read about it like this. RIP fellow cyclist

    • bikinginla says:

      I know what you mean. That easily could have been me; there have been many times when I pushed it just a little too far, and luck saved me when skill couldn’t.

  2. Brent says:

    Las Flores is such a tricky road, especially on the descent. It’s especially steep and fast for the Santa Monica mountains, and it has a couple of unforgiving spots where missing a turn means a plunge over the side. I’ve only gone down it once (I prefer to climb it), but I can see how its early, gentle curves might tempt a rider into an uncontrolled situation just a few yards downhill. That may not have been the issue here, but whatever the case, what awful news.

  3. ben says:

    Please change the heading from killed. He was not killed. I was there it was tragic. Don’t need to dramatize a terrible thing.

    • bikinginla says:

      Ben, sorry you had to see it. However, the victim did die as a result of his fall. I am not attempting to dramatize anything, just reporting the facts as I know them.

  4. Mike Kim says:

    really sad news to come home to after you yourself have been on a ride all day.

    on a sidenote, is there any way we can get info on where exactly he lost control? i was told that he hit a bump in the road which was the cause.

    the reason i ask is because i actually go down las flores quite often and now spooked that i may hit the same bump he did.

    • bikinginla says:

      I don’t have that information; however, maybe someone else here knows.

      My best suggestion would be to go on Bike Effects’ memorial ride for the victim, Robert Hyndman, on Saturday the 13th; they plan to stop at the accident site to honor him and other cycling victims.

  5. mike says:

    His family knows. I know him. He was a renaissance man with a booming laugh, ready smile, encyclopedic knowledge of many things, cool, stylish, and well, well loved by his friends and family. His loss will leave a gaping hole in the community- he was the most authentic person I knew.

    RH, you will be missed.

  6. Cary Ford says:

    Only an idiot would include a descent of Las Flores as part of a route for a “gentleman’s ride”. Bad planning. Stupid move.

    • Biker395 says:

      The website says “We use the term ‘Gentlemen’ to imply a respect for the rules of the road.”

      A cyclist wanting to get to PCH from the top of Stunt has essentially three options:

      (1) Tuna Canyon
      (2) Fernwood and Topanga
      (3) Las Flores

      I’ve done all three, and many times. Tuna is easily the most technical and the steepest. Although it is one-way downhill, there are often people tacking their bikes uphill. That would definitely not be my first choice.

      Fernwood is a technical descent as well, and with the residences, busier than Las Flores or Tuna. There are many places where missing a turn means a crash into a rock wall or other obstacle. And when you get to the bottom, there is the descent down Topanga with all the traffic.

      Las Flores is less steep than Tuna, lighter trafficked than Fernwood, with fewer features to crash into, and fewer driveways to worry about. Frankly, if I were organizing a ride, I’d plan to head down Las Flores too.

      Guess I’m an idiot.

      Gotta love that letter from Robert’s brother Carl. It oozes with love and respect.

      The fact is that cycling can be a dangerous sport, and it is a fact that my roadmates and I have discussed often. But to a person, when it’s all said and done, we’ve all arrived at the same conclusion. Yes, it’s risky, but it is a calculated risk and the risk is worth it. We’d rather take the risk of a quick death doing what we love than the certain slow decline and death that offered by the sedentary life of fear. You don’t measure lifetimes in days, minutes or hours. You measure them in experiences … in living.

      And from the sound of it, Robert had plenty of that.

  7. Albert says:

    This is from Robert’s brother, Carl. My thoughts and my heart are with Robert’s family and friends right now.
    Steven

    Dear Friends and Riding Companions,
    I wanted to write this in hopes I can alleviate some heavy hearts and misunderstandings that may surround this day. My name is Carl Hyndman and I am the younger brother of Robert Hyndman who died in yesterday’s accident. We are from Orange County and love bike riding. I have been riding for over 30 years and live and breath this special sport and am as passionate as anyone. I ride and race in both mountain and road. I have my UCI license and live the culture of cycling as did my brother Robert.

    Robert is a bit newer to the sport but has embraced it beyond anyone’s expectations. He has always lived an active life and found cycling a couple of years ago and has literally fallen in to the culture and lifestyle that surrounds it. Robert is the part of a close family that includes 5 brothers and a sister and immigrant Portuguese parents from Hong Kong. He was the middle child and was a successful writer who worked from his home in Laguna Beach. As a child and throughout his life, he would read everything and anything that he was interested in and had a calm and soothing aura around him. He didn’t just causally get involved with things, he grabbed life by the horns and embraced all that life could offer. It was no surprise that his passion would progress his interest to the finer things including his love for Italian bikes, amazing scenery and the surrounding of close friends. His natural ability progressed him to the point of racing, and travels for epic adventures. We shared many miles together and loved riding the mountains in places like Santa Cruz and Marin where some of our family lives.

    However, Robert was the balance in my life. I am the risk-taker, the action sports athlete and thrill-seeker. I’m known to throw caution to the wind and push my abilities. Robert was much different. He was very calculated and never took unnecessary risks. Yes he felt his natural athletic ability, but it was always within his control and comfort zone.

    We recently heard about this ride and wanted to experience another great adventure and included a few other friends from our area to enjoy as a group. The shop, the surrounding culture and the terrain is all part of what we feel represents our passion and lifestyle. Although we may not know most of you, we feel an indirect kinship for a common love and interest. This one was of those unfortunate accidents that we don’t see coming in our lives. Only seconds before, I was riding in front of him laughing and having the time of our lives. We marveled at the surrounding and embraced it. The terrain wasn’t unusual, too risky or unfamiliar. We had ridden this kind of terrain and far harder many times before. It could have happened just as easily on PCH or a curb across the street. He died in my arms and went doing what he loved to do.

    So please ride for him and keep a special place in your heart for my fallen brother. Thank you and feel free to contact me at any time at this e-mail address. Also, please feel free to forward this letter to anyone else that may want or need to hear this story. I’m sure I missed some people since Robert touched such a big set of friends and family, so do me this small favor and spread the word.
    Love,
    Carl Hyndman
    ______________

    Ed. note: I have removed the email address contained in this comment; too often, the wrong people respond to email addresses posted online.

  8. Jeff says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Carl, and your family. I was on the ride too, but actually, before the descent of Las Flores, peeled off with a small group to head down Fernwood as someone said it was a bit less tight on the descent. As you said, it could have been any one of us, on any day — so please ride careful and enjoy each ride, and day, as it comes.

  9. [...] know this Californian road well and it’s really sad to read a cyclist lost his life on it.  I hope Rapha got them to sign [...]

  10. Lee 'Ven says:

    You have to respect the speed, know your machine, know your limits, & most important study the terrain & follow the correct APEX for a turn!

  11. Lee 'Ven says:

    Condolences for the FamBam

  12. Stephen Lang says:

    My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Robert. I didn’t know him, but know how difficult the Los Flores Cyn descent is, I did I today after climbing Fernwood. I can only think that Robert inadvertently rode over some rocks from the hillside which would have made the bike bounce and lose control as he tried to take the next sharp turn. Whatever the cause, everyone should take the most care on Los Flores so no other accidents like this happen. GB you Robert.

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