Friday, January 19, 2018

Cycling loses another

Fraternity mourns for Roger Smart



Mark Fraser

The cycling fraternity continues to reel with news of the death of another of its members, this time former Trinidad and Tobago road cyclist Roger Smart.

Smart, 45, was reportedly heading north on Petra Street, Woodbrook in the wee hours of yesterday morning when his Subaru Legacy was hit by a Volkswagen Passat travelling west along Ariapita Avenue, Port of Spain.

He is the sixth active or former cyclist to have died in the last five months, and the second after Clinton Grant to perish in a road accident. Grant was hit by a car while riding along the Mucurapo Foreshore.

Smart’s loss has left the cycling fraternity in shock and grief. T&T Cycling Federation president Rowena Williams, who was a close friend of Smart, was lost for words yesterday when she spoke to the Sunday Express.

“Roger was a friend of mine, a good friend to everybody. Someone anybody could have gone to, (or) talked to. (He was a) humble, humble person. And this is a real, real hard (loss) for us to accept, even though Clinton was just as hard.

“Everybody could attest to his personality. Roger was just a friendly, easy-going person. He is somebody who would help anybody he sees in distress. It was just love,” she said.

TTCF vice-president and racing committee chairman Gregory Dandrade was also saddened at the news.

“He toured with me a lot on the national team,” Dandrade remembered. “(He was ) very hardworking.  We always had a good relationship. Top mechanic. It’s a big loss. Roger has a bike shop on Marli Street, people were always going to him for bike repairs. It’s a big loss for cycling.”

Michael Phillips, another former national cycling standout, said Smart’s death was “shocking” for the cycling fraternity, and hailed the man whom he regarded as “the most respected and regarded bicycle mechanic there was”.

“He toured with the national team on every occasion and he was one that always had a smile on his face. I think his contribution as a road cyclist and the fact that he has been so active even at the Masters level, it just shows his level of love for the sport.”

Phillips recalled that Smart grew up in Morvant and “tagged along” with some cyclists before he got his first bike and first opportunity.

“He never looked back from his sport of cycling since. That was his life and his livelihood,” Phillips said. “ Everybody will feel his loss.”

In addition to Grant and Smart, cycling also mourned the loss of Kent Luces and Russell “Crab” Parris in January, while Hilton “Barracuda” Mitchell also passed away in February, and Glen Harvey is the other name on that list.