Anthony Maynard

Anthony Maynard was born on 2nd March 1983 in the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and he weighed 9lbs 4oz. He went to school first at St Dominic's in Woodley, then to Waingels Copse in Woodley where he got 9 GCSEs. He then went on to Reading College to get an A level in Geography in his spare time.

Initially he worked at Rockwell Collins as an inventory assistant. In 2005 Anthony joined the Rural Payments Agency as a strategic planner in the GIS mapping section.

It was at Rockwell Collins that Anthony met Dave, his boss, who had a love of the outdoors, and with whom he went on several walking and climbing trips.

This sparked Anthony's real interest in indoor climbing, which Dave and his friends already did. Anthony's sister Theresa and some of her friends also got into all of this, and the friendly group met every Tuesday evening without fail, at the indoor climbing walls of the Westway Sports Centre in London.

Anthony was a vegetarian all his life, and latterly became a vegan. He came home one day and announced this to his mum, and she joined him on this new healthy lifestyle. They read widely on how to cope with the stresses of an extremely active lifestyle on a vegan diet, and went to great lengths to source their food.

Music played quite a part in his life, he was a fan of a broad range of performers including Amon Tobin, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Mogwai, and Incubus.

This reflected his taste in entertainment, he was not to be found in noisy nightclubs, nor going to the pub to make small talk. He enjoyed socialising with a wide circle of people who were regarded as close friends.

The Grapes of Wrath is unfinished but he read many books on a broad range of subjects from adventure in the high mountains, Buddhist teaching, cycling, especially the big riders, Armstrong, Pantani, Indurain, and of course The Rider by Tim Krabbe.

The values and opinions of others mattered to him, he was known to apologise for his cyclist colleagues' behaviour at the scenes of flare-ups with errant motorists. He was a long-time donator to charity, giving to the World Society for Protection of Animals and Sustrans as soon as he started to earn wages. His generosity showed in other ways too for he gave one of his old frames to a younger rider.

Anthony also had a dog. From an early age the Maynard family took on puppies from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and they ended up keeping Drew. More recently they acquired Lucy, a black and white crossbreed, who Anthony and his mum Sue used to walk along the river paths, sharing many happy hours together.

Expeditions are one thing that defined Anthony. As a young man not too sure of himself he went to Nepal, to Kathmandu, with a group of people he had never met before. He impressed them all with his drive and maturity, and he came back home a self confident man.

He trekked in the Julien Alps in Slovenia, extending himself rather more than he perhaps ought to and, being vegetarian, had to trek for three days on nuts and raisins because the only food his friend carried were dehydrated meals, which contained meat.

In late August 2007 his dad Dave drove Anthony and his friend Anita to Stansted Airport, for his most memorable trip. They flew with their bikes, and all their camping kit on a bike they named 'Zoncy', after the climb they were to head for. They flew to Ljubljana in Slovenia then rode, crossing the Dolomites and climbing the mighty Zoncolan pass.

I saw him shortly after his return, and he told me about this epic climb, the approach, the weather, but most of all the severity of the climb. He was impressed by the speed of the pros compared to his pace, and I pointed out that he had his touring kit on his bike. He freely admitted that he had left it all at the foot of the climb, whereas I am sure I would have claimed to have ridden it with my panniers on!

After the Dolomites, they made their planned detour to Innsbruck for Anita's flight home after two weeks. Anthony then started his long ride back to England.

During that trip he kept an intermittent diary, which I have had the privilege of reading. One entry indicates what a life changing event this was to be for him: "After two days on my own I realise how important my family and friends are. Always thought I was happier alone, I am sometimes, but not for days at a time."

It is as a cyclist that we knew Anthony and there are countless tales of his exploits on a bike.

Anthony was a founder member of Palmer Park Velo, joining at the age of eight. His first bike was a little blue Raleigh road bike, and he remained a member of the Velo until his mid teens, when temporarily he went off cycling.
He then joined Reading CC at the age of 18, and was a regular on club runs. The term "doing an Anthony" was coined to describe someone going off the front and missing a turning (not to be confused with "a Maynard moment", which describes a catastrophic loss of air without having a pump, or a tube, or both!).

He tried road racing and although he was quite good at it, it was not really his thing. On one occasion he broke away and crossed the line ahead of the field with his arms aloft, only to hear the bell ringing for another lap. His father has actually done the very same thing! Anthony was heard to say that the best way to spoil a good ride was to pin a race number on.

Sportives where Anthony's greatest love, and other than club runs, was where I spent much of my time with him; which of course wasn't much! He once started the Autumn Epic 45 minutes after me, and caught me with 15 miles to go. He still had time for a bit of a chat before leaving me in the pursuit of Nick Crocker.

In 2006 we rode the very first Gran Fondo Cymru in Bala, when we shared a dorm in the outdoor centre at Rhos-y-gwaliau. We had a great time chatting about bikes and hills and poring over the map on the wall. I wasn't on top of my game and set off early to get a chance to see everyone in the club come past, which they all did. Again Anthony had time to come back and chat before effortlessly moving ahead to the group that had dropped me.

He was of course a very classy rider, who had the physical prowess of a competitive athlete, but who chose to ride sociably, often pacing back riders, always willing to help out.

In his diary I also found this: "I have had a clear mind for the last few days, free from the trappings, stresses and strains of normal life. Mind is true, not wavered by circumstances. Just ride, eat, sleep, allows mind to be free. Wish I could always feel like this, hope I have learnt something."

 Adrian Lawson