OLATHE, Kan. — Sunday morning, more than 100 bicyclists gathered in south Olathe. They all came to ride and remember a man they say was larger than life.
Craig Henwood, 48, died while riding his bike near Cheney Reservoir outside Wichita on March 9. Family thinks he had an aneurysm while on the ride, but an autopsy confirming that will take another few weeks.
“It’s crazy to see the whole cycling community come together like this,” Justin Heizner said, still wearing his helmet.
For a few minutes Sunday morning, the streets in south Olathe swarmed with more than 100 cyclists like Heizner. All of them to celebrate Craig Henwood, a cyclist rarely seen without a smile.
“What we shared this morning was so overwhelming and moving,” Kristine Johnson said.
Johnson is a cyclist herself, but more importantly, she is the mother of Craig Henwood.
“Craig had a bigger than life persoanlity,” she said. “Super contagious smile, loving human being. And he was a leader, a born leader.”
With the nickname like Hemi, he was also a force. He was remembered as an avid biker who supported dozens of others, whether with a donation of cycling equipment, or a joke.
“He was just the most happy guy,” Heizner said. “Always laughing, always smiling, always pulling some kind of joke.”
Henwood gave Heizner the cycling equipment he needed. Henwood also gave Heizner the encourgament he needed.
“In all the races, he’d tell me ‘to move up Justin!’ Even when I was in the front, wherever I was, he’d always yell me to ‘Move Up’!”
Henwood was an ardent proponent of road safety. He and his friends formed a Three Feet Cycling Team, which refers to the three feet required by law for a car to give a cyclist.
“They have to remember that these are moms and dads just trying to healthy,” emphasized Henwood’s mother, Johnson. “So give them some space. And the three feet is the space, so that is the message he really wanted to carry.”
And now, his family hopes others take up the cause.
“His legacy,” Johnson said, “doesn’t end with his loss.”