Loss of “The Perfect Critic”
RIDE Cycling Review receives many requests to support charities; and we are doing all we can to support one in particular. For the story of Ian Davis and Scott Sullivans’ quest to ride “one million metres for MND”, see p.26 of RIDE #59 or visit this link for details of their story. One reason that MND resonates so strongly is that one of the original friends of RIDE suffered from the disease and lost his battle last September. Below is the publisher’s tribute to a friend… “the perfect critic”.
In memoriam: Anthony Smith
A few months before the first issue of RIDE Cycling Review was released, I had the pleasure of working with a gentleman who became a friend and the original critic of this magazine. Anthony Smith was an art director who followed my efforts from the inception of this title. Although he was an expert on many things, he had no idea about cycling nor much interest in it. But at the completion of every issue, we would share a beer and dissect the production in detail. He could be scathing in his appraisal of my work but he had a solution to a criticism.
It’s because of these sessions that he became curious about my sport but to him I’ll always be ‘Bicycle Rob’. It’s a title that made me smile even though it annoyed me enormously.
Several years ago, he stopped working because of a pain in his arm. He would be diagnosed with motor neurons disease (MND); slowly but surely, his muscles degenerated. He lost the ability to walk a year ago, and talking taxed him dearly towards the end but he always made sure we reviewed each magazine. As much as it hurt, he made sure he voiced his concerns about RIDE. He passed away before he could see the 57th edition. He was 40.
MND is a terrible illness and my memories of Anthony will not be of him as he wasted away but of his endless energy even when his body was shutting down. His mind was alert until the end, but he lost the capacity to express himself because of the wretched disease.
Life is different when you lose a friend and this issue has been made at a particularly turbulent time. Cycling is in disarray but it will come out and we’ll continue to ride our bikes and enjoy what we do. But some won’t get that chance because MND will rob them of what they once had.
My mate is one of hundreds who succumb to this rotten illness that strikes at random and has no cure. Another is Ian Davis – a doctor, he was diagnosed recently and knows his fate. Visit cavalierbeer.com.au to read Ian’s story and to find out more.
Every day I’m reminded how lucky I am to have my health. RIDE won’t be judged like it once was and those critical sessions with Anthony are over but my hope is that he would be happy with how things look.
I miss you mate…
– By Rob Arnold