It's been just over a week since the sudden and tragic passing of Neil Bradford, the general manager of Crossroads Fitness Center. His friends say they're still coping with the loss, but Tuesday took a big step towards being at peace.
"We rode usually about two times a week together, over the summer off and on for the last five or six years," said Cat Caughran, a close friend of Bradford.
After spending a week greiving, remembering, and coming together, friends of Bradford realized there was one thing they hadn't done since that fateful day he was killed, after being involved in a bike accident. It was something that brought them together Tuesday night.
"None of us have been back on our bikes since then," said Caughran. "So we thought it would be a good way to honor Neil's bike riding legacy."
"He was an avid biker and I did a lot of biking with him," said Dale Reece, owner of Crossroads Fitness Center and close friend of Bradford. "I wanted to come out in remembrance of him."
After gathering outside the Hot Tomato Cafe, one of Bradford's favorite restaurants, they took off on a special route.
"Neil's favorite ride -- we did it all the time, at least once a week -- was up to the visitor's center on the monument," said Caughran.
Making the climb for a man they say was liked by all who knew him.
"Neil just inspired so many people to do whatever it was to keep fit," said Caughran.
"It's two-fold,"said Reece. "One is getting together with everybody to just honor him and being able to give him a tribute, then the second reason is that it's a sport he loved to do."
After dealing with a week of shock, disbelief, and sadness, they had a short moment of peace.
"Now it's time to get out and ride on for Neil Bradford," said Caughran.
Bradford left behind two sons. Donations can be made to the Neil Bradford kids' scholarship fund at any Alpine Bank.