Found on the DailyBulletin.com and written by Don Sproul
As friends and family mourned, a stark white ghost bike adorned with a collection of red Valentine’s Day balloons was placed Monday at the site where Rancho Cucamonga cyclist La Vonne Koester was killed while riding in the Tour de Palm Springs on Saturday.
Well known to members of the area’s cycling community, Koester, 55, was struck by a truck and killed Saturday at the intersection of Avenue 60 and Harrison Street in Thermal, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Radford, based out of the Indio station.
The intersection is a two-way stop; the driver of the vehicle was questioned but not held, Radford said. The ghost bike, a tribute to riders who have been killed on the road, was placed by the Inland Empire Biking Alliance. Fellow rider and friend Richard Mayo described Koester, a Chase Bank executive, as one of the warmest people he ever knew. She was well liked, devoted to raising money for the American Diabetes Association and had shaped herself into a formidable rider over the last five years.
Just last year, she and her son, Scott, who regularly rode with her, teamed up to conquer the King of the Mountains Century Challenge. The event combines three 100-plus mile rides, which feature climbing ranging from 8,000 to 13,900 feet. She also had participated in the Ragbrai event, a nationally-known seven-day, 468-mile ride across Iowa, was a regular participant in Upland’s Tour de Foothills and rides hosted by local show-and-go club, the Psycho-lists and Rancho Cucamonga’s Cycling Connection. She served on the Cycling Connection board as the group’s social director.
Along with riding, a real passion for Koester was supporting the American Diabetes Association and its Tour de Cure Ship to Shore ride, which starts and ends at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. She and Mayo were organizing a team they called “Jerry’s Kids,” after Koester’s father who died from diabetes, for the April event.
Funeral services were pending. Koester is survived by two adult sons, Shawn and Scott, and her husband, Ron.