Craig Armitage: Riders unite in farewell to Otley cyclist pal and beloved dad

Riders set off from the Lawnswood Arms.
Riders set off from the Lawnswood Arms.
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It provided the most fitting and moving of tributes possible for a who spent much of his life spreading his love of cycling across his community.

One week on from his death, the pain was still very raw for the friends and family of Otley man Craig Armitage, but it did not deter 200 of them from turning out for a bike ride organised in his honour.

The businessman and father-of-three was killed in a fatal collision with a car on the Bolton Abbey estate last Sunday while taking part in the Otley Reliability Ride from Otley to Kettlewell.

In the wake of the tragedy, colleagues, fellow cyclists and those closest to the 44-year-old rallied together to organise a tribute ride to say farewell to the popular family man and reflect his passion for the sport. A minute’s silence was held at the Lawnswood Arms, Leeds, before riders embarked on the 14-mile mission on Sunday morning.

“It was absolutely what Craig would have wanted,” said friend Jonathan Farnaby, who co-founded In Gear Cycling with Mr Armitage, a business which ran cycle coaching courses for children from its base in Otley.

“Craig touched the lives of so many people and the turnout was a testament to him.

“He was dedicated to promoting cycling as a lifestyle choice and something all the family can get involved with. He believed in the power of cycling in bringing people together.

“Craig would not have wanted a black cloud over cycling.

“We don’t know what happened on the road that day, this was about celebrating a life and a love of cycling.”

Perhaps the most remarkable feat of the day was completed by Mr Armitage’s father Ken, who is in his 70s and had not been on two wheels for a number of years.

“He was absolutely determined to do it,” said Mr Farnaby. “The look on his face when he completed it – I’ve never seen someone look so proud.”