killed by SUV was participant in 'Tour Da Chicago'
'Tour da Chicago' is unofficial competition
By Karoun Demirjian
Chicago Tribune, February 26, 2008
A race to the finish resulted in an untimely end for a cyclist who was
killed during a street race Sunday morning when he was hit by a
Witnesses say the accident took place when a large group of riders
competing in Chicago's "Tour Da Chicago" street race attempted to ride
through an intersection against a red light.
Matthew Manger-Lynch, 29, of the 1400 block of West Lill Avenue in
Chicago was near the front of the pack of about 40 riders, police said.
The group was traveling southeast along Lincoln Avenue, when they
attempted to cross Irving Park Road at about 9:15 a.m.
But the stoplight was red, and Manger-Lynch was killed when an SUV
traveling east along Irving Park struck him. He was pronounced dead in
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center at 9:47 a.m. Police said they
do not expect charges will be filed against the driver.
The Tour Da Chicago is an annual, unofficial street race that takes
place in stages scheduled at various points throughout the winter. The
race's name harks back the Tour de France, long known as the top
competition in the sport of cycling.
As in the Tour de France, cyclists in the Tour Da Chicago compete in
stages for top prizes, which include a signature jersey for the winner,
yellow in the Tour de France, orange in the Tour Da Chicago.
But for the most part, the similarities end there.
Chicago's race takes place in six stages, beginning with a preview race
in January and ending with a rugged "Stairmaster" challenge -- a course
that includes riding on several of the city's most treacherous
staircases -- in March, according to participants.
Sunday's race, which was Stage 3, began at 8 a.m., and featured a
course that wound through Chicago, starting in the West Loop, heading
to the Rogers Park neighborhood, into the northwestern parts of the
city and finishing in the West Loop. About 50 cyclists participated, by
one rider's estimate.
But the race did not finish after Sunday's accident.
"It was a shock to every one of us," said Morgan Lee, who participated
in the race. "It could have been any one of us that were out there. And
it's just tragic."
Roads are not blocked off for the Tour Da Chicago, known as an
"alleycat" race. In such a race, cyclists compete with city traffic as
they attempt to outpace each other to complete the course.
"It's an event inherently designed to have people break rules and break
laws," said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Chicagoland Bicycle
Federation, which advocates city bicycling and promotes bicycling
safety. "It provides a competitive incentive, almost, for people to run
For Manger-Lynch, the incentive may have been a great one, because
after the first few stages, he had managed to become one of the top few
cyclists. He was within reach of the coveted orange jersey in just his
"He was very excited about it," said Elizabeth Lynch, Manger-Lynch's
wife. "It was organized fun, and he got to be a little competitive."
Manger-Lynch was an experienced cyclist, having grown up in Milwaukee
in a family of avid mountain-bikers.
According to his brother, Luke Manger-Lynch, 32, Matthew began to take
up road-biking when he moved to Paris in 2003 to study culinary arts at
the famed Le Cordon Bleu institute in Paris.
Manger-Lynch moved back to Chicago with his wife in 2004, and after a
series of restaurant chef positions, decided to open up a catering
company, Mandolin Catering.
He was planning to open a charcuterie and wine shop to feature his two
culinary specialties: fine wine and processed meats.
It's an image that doesn't necessarily correspond to the face of
road-biking in Chicago, which observers such as Sadowsky have called an
But Manger-Lynch never became part of this "messenger culture,"
according to his family. He just loved to ride.
Manger-Lynch decided to try road biking competitively in 2004.
Manger-Lynch was very responsible about safety, Lynch said, and was
planning on graduating from "alleycat" races such as the Tour Da
Chicago to official, closed course races. He had recently obtained a
cyclist's license for such competitions from USA Cycling.
"Everything he did, he jumped in with both feet," Luke Manger-Lynch