Tributes pour in for British cyclist killed on UAE tour

Lucy Monro, 50, died on Friday, after colliding with two motorbikes, about 100km into the tour on the Sharjah-Kalba road.

Lucy Monro, who was killed while cycling in the Coast to Coast Challenge in the UAE. Courtesy LCM Publishing / Swiss Media Group
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DUBAI // Tributes have been paid to a cyclist who died in a 220-kilometre challenge ride after colliding with two motorbikes.
Experienced British cyclist and magazine publisher Lucy Monro, 50, died on Friday about 100km into the tour on the Sharjah-Kalba road, at the turn off to Shawka.
Friends and colleagues called her an "extraordinary woman and inspirational leader".
She was riding from Dubai to Fujairah for the Stuff Worth Reading team, with about 70 other riders mainly from the Dubai Roadsters club.
Ms Monro was Swiss Media Group's editor-in-chief, and established the equestrian magazine Equestrio in the region with her friend and business partner Michael Lahyani 11 years ago.
"It's needless to say how shocked and devastated I feel," Mr Lahyani said.
"Lucy was not only the great soul behind Equestrio, she was a lifetime friend and a very unique one.
"We met some 11 years ago at the Dubai World Cup and within an hour decided to launch Equestrio Arabia, which quickly became the number one equestrian magazine in the UAE.
"Lucy was an extraordinary woman, filled with passion and great energy.
"She had her character at times, but whoever worked with her will remember this striking lady who was a passionate and relentless leader."
The success of Equestrio Arabia led to the launch of property listing magazine AlBabWorld, now propertyfinder.ae.
Aside from managing Equestrio Arabia, Equestrio China, SWR magazine and lately Prestige, Ms Monro was a charity ambassador who thrived on surrounding herself with like-minded people, Mr Lahyani said.
"Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai] personally honoured her with a special necklace he gave only to outstanding people, in reward for her contribution to the equestrian industry in the UAE," he said.
"It is a very sad day and I will miss her from the deepest part of my heart."
Cyclists set off from the Nad Al Sheba cycle park in Dubai at 5.30am on Friday. They were due to arrive at Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah, about eight hours later, after crossing the Hajjar Mountains.
The trip was a fund-raiser for Unicef Road to Awareness, a campaign to help thousands of vulnerable children across the Middle East and Africa to receive an education and stay healthy.
Gerard Belicha, publisher and chief executive of Swiss Media Group, said Ms Monro's colleagues were shocked at the news of her death.
"There are no words to describe how devastated we feel," he said.
"Her passion, kindness and relentless pursuit of excellence have left an indelible mark on our team, our products and our DNA.
"She will be sorely missed on so many levels, first and foremost as a dear friend, and also as an outstanding editor-in-chief and inspirational leader.
"As painful and difficult as it feels right now, we need to carry on her legacy and have started the process of finding someone to take over her position. In the meantime, the Swiss Media Group editorial team will continue her work.
"Our last thoughts go to Lucy's family and loved ones. Lucy truly was an extraordinary woman. Our prayers are with you in these difficult times, may her soul rest in peace."
Many of her friends also took to Facebook to express shock at her death and pay tribute to one of the SWR team's founding members.
"I still cannot believe it, just the most tragic news, so very unfair," one said. "Lucy has been an amazing friend and we have all shared so many exciting polo adventures together. You will be hugely missed Lucy and in our prayers always."
Another said: "Still can't believe it. One of life's special and amazing people who achieved so much and was loved by everybody. We will miss you, gorgeous girl. RIP."
A third said: "So very sad to hear this news. Lucy, your passion for the sport and the encouragement you gave to others was amazing. Rest in peace and it was a pleasure knowing you."
The race organisers, Dubai Roadsters and Wolfi's Bike Shop, declined to comment in respect of the family's wishes.
nwebster@thenational.ae