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

First responders at a crash scene near Rossland on Thursday, Oct. 22. Photo: Trail RCMP
First snow in West Kootenay causes vehicle collisions

The Trail and Greater District RCMP’s weekly brief contains details on collisions

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

The village is looking to install another 91 metres of breakwater at the marina. Photo: JD Mah
Village staff applying for $2.1 million in grants to complete three infrastructure projects

Projects include new biomass system at arena, breakwater and stormwater repairs

Enrolment is up overall in the district. Photo: Nakusp Elementary School
Enrolment at SD 10 schools skyrocket

Enrolment numbers have increased by 10 percent between Sept. 2019 and Sept. 2020

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Most Read