The world of cycling lost a longtime champion a week before Christmas. Journalist, author, adventurer and competitor Roy Wallack was killed on Dec. 19 in a mountain biking accident in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles. While biking with friends in Point Mugu State Park, the 64-year-old Wallack crashed along a steep trail and struck his head on a large rock.

Over the decades, this California resident’s cycling adventures led him to participate in races around the world. His enthusiasm for cycling, as well as other outdoor sports, provided the backdrop for his writing that reflected his desire to share the joy, passion, accessibility and health benefits of riding on a two-wheeler. Cycling is for everyone to enjoy as Wallack so effusively addressed in his 2005 book “Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 – and Beyond.”

An inspiring and dedicated cycling ambassador

People like Wallack helped promote cycling, leading to the possibility that anyone can share in his enthusiasm for a bicycle and understand the lifelong benefits. His dedication to the sport and method of transportation inspired so many people to get on a bicycle thanks to his “you-can-do-it!” attitude.

Wallack’s cycling crusade began long ago, well ahead of the curve that has made cycling so popular today. By the early 1980s, he began writing about cycling and eventually became an outdoors columnist for The Los Angeles Times. Throughout his writings, Wallack also stressed safety as well as the environmental benefits of cycling.

Remember people like Roy Wallack. Cyclists can thank this energetic and gregarious ambassador and fitness guru of this sport. In advocating for cycling, Wallack helped transform the way we think about life, the pursuit of happiness and reliable transportation.

And even though Wallack did not die after being struck by a motor vehicle, think about him, nonetheless, if you see a ghost bike – a two-wheeler painted white that serves as a roadside memorial for when a cyclist is killed or seriously injured. And think about the other cyclists, too, who suffered similar tragic accidents.