A British couple’s around-the-world cycling adventure ended last week when they were killed in an accident on Thailand’s notoriously dangerous roads. Now, a film festival in Portland will pay tribute to them.
Cycling enthusiasts and short filmmakers Peter Root and Mary Thompson set out on their adventure in July of 2011 and biked across 21 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China.
The couple, who met in art school and saved money for six years before their trip, were blogging on their website "Two on Four Wheels" and shooting a series of short films along the way. They had just learned in January that one of their films, Cycling Central Asia, had been accepted to the 2013 Filmed By Bike festival in Portland, which will take place in April.
Filmed by Bike festival director Ayleen Crotty announced Tuesday that the festival plans to honor the filmmakers. It will show a video tribute to Root and Thompson when their film is screened in Portland.
"In the last two years, Filmed by Bike has seen a huge surge in travel-by-bike movies," said Crotty. "I don't know if more people are adventuring by bike, or it is just that more people are bringing cameras along for the ride. These submissions are a fantastic glimpse into the very special experiences of the cyclists. Perhaps something about that made it extra sad to learn of Peter and Mary's passing. As previewers of their piece, we saw how happy they were adventuring, and that is what they were doing when they passed away."
Thai Police told local press that officers found the filmmakers' bodies, badly damaged bicycles and belongings strewn along a roadside in a province east of Bangkok. A pick-up truck was crashed nearby, wedged between some trees. The driver, 25-year-old Worapong Sangkhawat, was seriously injured in the crash and told the police that he accidentally drifted into the cyclists while reaching down to the floor to pick up his cap.
Worapong is currently out on bail but faces charges of manslaughter due to reckless driving, with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.