London's cycling community mourns the sudden death of Southwark's Barry Mason

On Friday we were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Barry Mason, coordinator of Southwark Cyclists, who died in a swimming accident while on holiday in Spain.

Everyone at the London Cycling Campaign, including staff and the board of trustees, has been greatly saddened to hear of the shocking news, and we send our deepest sympathies to Barry's partner Cheryl and all his family and friends.

Barry's ability to encourage and enthuse everyone he met has helped
transform cycling in London, and the lives of many of us.

In 2006 we named Barry as the 'London Cycling Personality of the Year'
at the London Cycling Awards. 

His leadership at Southwark Cyclists helped them become the most active and exciting local cycling campaign.

Previously he re-invigorated Greenwich Cyclists, he also had been a board member of LCC.

Across London, Barry is best known for supporting the Dunwich Dynamo
ride. This magical, annual 200km night ride from London to the lost city
of Dunwich on the Suffolk coast has relied on Barry to organise the return trip to London.

Barry's death is an irreplaceable loss.  So many of us have been
caught up with his enthusiasm for life, and cycling, we can hope to carry
on his example.


Thousands of Londoners have had their lives dramatically improved by the solid and inspirational work of Barry Mason. Cycle training for numerous Southwark schoolchildren, nervous riders rediscovering the joys of cycling on his many afterworkers, weekend and Christmas Day rides, the street landscape transformed not only by his imaginative ideas but also by his ability to work with the Council to make things happen....and above all the Dunwich Dynamo....which made me realise that of course anyone can decide one Saturday afternoon that they are going to ride 120 miles through the night and just do it. London is a grey rainy sad place this morning in tribute to the man but what a legacy he has left us.
His knowledge and standards were of the highest quality. A respected big chain ring in my short LCC membership - and I only really read his emails.
..a few years ago Camden Cyclists invited Barry to our meeting to tell us how he succeeded in forging links with the pedestrian association, something we were struggling with in Camden. On other occasions I emailed him for advice. His answers were always prompt, short and sharp. His general message was always: less talk more action: which he cleared demonstrated himself. He will be missed
Tragic news. You'll be very sadly missed Barry.

Deeply shocked, very sad, great loss. Way too young and energetic. Barry was  an amazing tireless dynamo and consistently seemed to achieve an output that a whole team of people could have been pleased with. The final para in the SE1 page is so accurate: His persistence didn't always endear him to local politicians and fellow cycling activists, but he will long be remembered as someone who got on and made things happen rather than just talking about what might be possible. RIP Barry. Richard

A tribute from Mark Dawson, Pollards Hill Cyclists (posted to their Yahoo email list) “London's foremost cycle campaigner, Barry Mason from Southwark Cyclists, has tragically drowned whilst on holiday in Spain.

Few will be aware that the blueprint for PHC was drawn from Barry's rides that he organised for Southwark Cyclists. There were no local rides around our area six or seven years ago so I used to pedal up Thameside for Barry's explores. I knew I could create a worthwhile club based on his ethos of a different route each time, instantaneous ride reports and a pinch of local history.

Barry even organised one of his famous Locks and Docks rides for an early PHC ride to co-opt and was supportive of our initial efforts. His brusque approach didn't endear him to everyone and I suffered a very public falling out with him not long after PHC won the LCC Best Community Cycling Initiative of 2006 award.

We occasionally passed him whilst out riding and the last time I saw Barry, we were both waiting for the Woolwich Ferry with our respective rides. He checked where we were lunching to ensure we weren't competing and harrumphed 'Good!' when he found out it wasn't the same place!! Later that day he checked I was ok when I'd abandoned the riders and was sat sunning myself on a dockside bench as he returned his charges back to Southwark.

Barry's tireless work as a cycle campaigner was light years ahead of anything being done elsewhere. He was like a runaway bulldozer, demolishing anyone who dared to stand in his way. His educated, reasoned, concise but no-nonsense approach ensured he was taken seriously at all levels from the building site foreman who'd inadvertently blocked a cycle path to local government representatives who probably dreaded his name appearing in their inbox.

The list of Barry's achievements is at least twice that of all the other cycle campaigners in London put together. He would have made a great Transport Minister. London cycling will never replace him.”

This post was edited by London Cycling Campaign at 3:52pm 6 June 2011.

London cycling has just lost one of its most energetic and passionate campaigners, and our commiserations and sympathy go out to his family and friends, who have lost much more than that. His achievements are a tribute to his energy and perseverance, and a continuing inspiration to everyone working to make London a place where cycling is part of everyday life. I knew him through the Olympics Working Group, but before that one of those who, when they took the plunge and did the Dunwich Dynamo, had experience of how much its impeccable organisation owed to him personally. He will be a tough act to follow.
The world needed lots more people like Barry, not one less. I can't think of anyone who displayed more enthusiasm, drive, passion or committment towards whatever they were doing, especially when you consider that what he was doing was for the benefit of all.

There are  many tributes to Barry and memories of his energetic life coming from all parts of the cycling community.  There are dozens of messages on the LCC email lists and forum.  Ross Lydall from the Evening Standard blogs: London unites in tribute to cycling campaigner.      The ES itself has a news story.

London Assembly Member Jenny Jones sent a tweet: "We will miss Barry Mason: his energy, passion, determination, his commitment to #cycling. What a tragic waste of a busy effective lovely man."

One of my favorite memories of Barry is of his genuine embarrassment when given the "Cycling Personality of the Year" award by LCC in 2006.  For once he was almost speechless. He didn't think that he deserved it, despite no one in the room agreeing with him.  

Today I learned that he thad ried to turn the award down, and that some people had suggested it should go to a high profile media celebrity instead.  He had been nominated by Southwark Cyclists, many members threatened to resign from LCC if the award was given to anyone else.  Quite rightly Barry agreed to accept the award.

Barry and I used to hang out together in the same crew several years ago but in later years we didn't see so much of each other socially, though we had mutual LCC business to deal with from time to time. Just recently I kept meaning to go on one of his afterworker rides, say hello and re-kindle some of the old times, but I never got around to it unfortunately. Never mind. Barry, one day I'll catch up with you for the great Afterworker ride in the sky. Wait for me.
Barry was a lovely guy I first encountered on the urbancyclist-uk mesageboard. I think I only met him once - on a great ride in Oxfordshire, finishing up in a pub back in London. Wonderful day, wonderful memories.
I got the news on my inbox at work and have been at a meeting all evening so unable to ring/meet people and mourn. It is so therapeutic to read peoples' words.. I had planned to ride with Barry during Bike week ... Teri - Greenwich Cyclists Rides Coordinator..
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