Thursday 25 August 2016

Tribute to David Eales

It is with great sadness that we report that David Eales died on Tuesday 23rd August after a short illness. David was the heart and soul of the cycling community in West London. Since he joined Ealing Cycling Campaign in 2004 he threw his energy and enthusiasm into every aspect of cycling: He led social rides, campaigned, wrote newsletters, fixed bikes, and was present at nearly every stall or event we organised. In 2010 he took the bold step of starting the Ealing Bike Hub, which shortly became the London Bike Hub. With this, he began a full-time job promoting cycling. He obtained the use of a space in Greenford and started running regular bike maintenance classes. Soon he was recycling unwanted bicycles and teaching children and adults to cycle on the roads with Bikeability training. Through the Hub, David initiated work with charities - offering All-Ability Cycling with Ealing Mencap, maintenance classes to deprived communities, and working with young offenders and ex-service personnel to give them the skills for employment. He built up an impressive knowledge of every aspect of cycling - developing the expertise not just to train people to cycle, but to train new trainers. And he knew every part of a bike, what was wrong with it, and somewhere in a drawer he would find the specialist tool to fix it. He was an inspiration to the dozens of volunteers and paid enthusiasts who made the London Bike Hub possible. And, ever on the look-out for new trends in cycling, in the months before he died he was promoting the use of cargo bikes for local deliveries. David was not only a tremendous ambassador for cycling but also a lovely guy with a warm heart and a wry sense of humour. We will miss him terribly, but his influence will live on in all the people he inspired. His wife Shirley and daughters Joanne and Laura can be very proud of what he achieved.

Martin Gorst
ECC Coordinator

Other tributes to David:
Local MP Rupa Huq wrote in a tweet that his death is "a great loss". Leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell said, "If ever someone was irreplaceable it is David. He gave so much to the community and his commitment to cycling was unmatched.", and Councillor Bassam Mahfouz said: "He was a superb advocate for cycling, a great mind with an entrepreneurial flair matched by his social drive to improve peoples’ lives."
In 2011 David was voted Ealing's Local Hero on Ealing Today, which has published this touching tribute to David. And the voice of London's cycling community, the London Cycling Campaign paid this tribute.

I can't go without giving David the last word. Here's a joke from one of his first email newsletters back in 2005: 'Two black bits of tarmac are drinking in a bar, a green piece of tarmac comes in and both black bits run to the toilet to hide. Later they both emerge sheepishly and return to the bar when they are sure the green piece has gone. The barman asks what the problem was – one black piece says “you don’t want to mess with him, he’s a right cycle-path.”'