IN MEMORY: Riding in memory of their mate, Ramon Rodrigo, was Julian Leighton, Graeme Sharpe, Pia Balk, John-Paul Blanc, John Milburn, Chris Eichholzer and Robert Taylor. Ramon's wife Maria Rodrigo and daughter Yolanda Rodrigo (front) paid tribute on the day.
IN MEMORY: Riding in memory of their mate, Ramon Rodrigo, was Julian Leighton, Graeme Sharpe, Pia Balk, John-Paul Blanc, John Milburn, Chris Eichholzer and Robert Taylor. Ramon's wife Maria Rodrigo and daughter Yolanda Rodrigo (front) paid tribute on the day. Cody Fox

FITTING TRIBUTE: Cyclists send off mate at Tour de Bay

CYCLING: This year's Tour de Bay was a fitting send-off for beloved Hervey Bay cycling identity Ramon Rodrigo.

At the end of the ride, The Wild Hogs cycling group had a small remembrance ceremony for Ramon and spoke about his love for riding.

Group member and family friend Graeme Sharpe said it was a chance meeting that brought the two enthusiasts together.

Ramon was returning to cycling in 2010 when the pair met.

Graeme was seeking an exercise regime to get him outdoors and improve his fitness.

"Ramon was like the Godfather of our cycling group and he was member number one," Sharpe said.

"Now even though he has gone, we feel as if he is still with us when we go for a ride."

The group got its name from one of its cyclists' outfit.

Wearing a T-shirt and board shorts and not yet decked out in lycra, Ramon commented he looked like one of the riders from the 2007 bike comedy movie, Wild Hogs.

Sharpe said one of Ramon's great personality traits was his sense of humour, even without trying, and it endeared him to his friends and family.

The group lost its beloved number one member to prostate cancer on August 5 this year.

"He had been receiving palliative care and the group got together one more time on August 3 for us to have that final ride," Sharpe said.

Ramon was a Spaniard who emigrated to Australia in 1973.

He was always in the saddle of a bike - every opportunity he had, he got out for a ride.

Ironically, Ramon was out cycling when he met the other great love of his life, his wife Maria.

Maria was touched by the respect shown from Ramon's cycling group and other cyclists.

"When I met my husband he was on a bike and he had such passion for it and had been doing it for all of his life," Maria said.

"He was my soul-mate and his life was family, cycling and fishing."

She said despite being an amateur in Spain, Ramon still got to cycle with former Tour de France cyclists and he always loved participating in Tour de Bay.

"He loved the Tour de Bay and how the money raised from it stayed in the community," she said.



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