Wild Trak Bikes owner Tom Harp stands by a ghost bike he donated at the site of where Carol Admire was struck and killed riding her bike recently. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

Tom Harp, owner of Wild Trak Bikes in Alton, was so heartbroken over bicyclist Carol Admire’s recent death on the Great River Road that he donated a "ghost bike" to serve as a memorial.

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Harp put the bike in its place exactly where Admire, 65, lost her life. The accident occurred at 4:55 p.m. Saturday, May 23, between Piasa Harbor and Stanka Lane, just inside Jersey County in Godfrey. Admire was hit by a driver in a pickup truck. On Thursday, he was devastated to learn that someone had removed the bicycle.

“I don’t get mad often, but this was a disgusting act,” he said. “I only placed it there yesterday morning and I was told later in the afternoon it was no longer there. Someone had removed the memorial. I think it is ridiculous an individual or a government agency would remove with no idea what its meaning was.”

Not to be thwarted, Harp returned to the scene Friday morning with a similar bike, with a stronger chain and lock to attach to the rail. This time, he also had a plaque to remember Admire to make it distinguished as a memorial.

Carol Admire's family arrived at the site of the ghost bike memorial and left some beautiful flowers on Friday morning. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

While at the memorial site, Admire’s grieving family came with fresh flowers to place on the bike.  The family was obviously appreciative of Harp’s efforts.

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“The intent and purpose of a ghost bike is to be a standing memorial for someone hit and killed by a motor vehicle,” Harp said. “There are several of these types of memorials all over the United States. It's just like any other roadside memorial someone would do for a loved one or a friend. The intention is it will stay there indefinitely.”

Admire was a loyal customer of Wild Trak Bikes, Harp said. In fact, he said he talked to her about a week and a half ago about one of her favorite topics – biking.

“The frightening thing for me is we just tuned up her bike for the cycling season as I have done the last four and a half years about a week and a half ago,” he said.

Harp’s last conversation with her was general small talk about her plans for riding during the season.

“As her daughters have explained in recent Facebook postings, she looked forward to doing her 20-or-so-mile bike rides,” he said.

Harp made phone calls to governmental agencies, but didn’t find any confirmation they had removed the memorial.

“I know in this day in age, people pretty much scrap everything they can find on the road,” he said. “It has now been replaced with a new memorial ghost bike with a plaque and Carol’s picture and date of death on it.”

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