Cycling community is rallying for severely injured South Okanagan man

Cycling community is rallying for severely injured South Okanagan man

Aart Van Kooy was injured while riding a Skaha Bluffs trail near Penticton

Penticton’s cycling community is rallying to help one of their own recover from serious injuries suffered in an accident on a Skaha Bluffs trail last weekend.

A recovery fund has been started for Aart Van Kooy, who flipped over the front of his bike after his handlebar clipped a tree branch while descending the Sam I Am trail, hitting the ground face-first.

Suffering multiple bone injuries to his face, including a shattered nose and broken jaw, Van Kooy was initially taken to Penticton Hospital, then transferred to Kelowna General Hospital. As of Wednesday he was under a medically-induced coma, awaiting the first of what will likely be many surgeries.

Tara Grace Scott, manager of The Bike Barn cycle shop in Penticton where Van Kooy works, said her goal is to help reduce the financial hardship facing Van Kooy, and his wife Kerry, as they deal with the post-accident recovery process.

“He is going to undergo a lot of facial reconstruction surgery, so the last thing I want them to worry about right now is the financial stuff,” said Scott.

Scott called it an amazing feat of perseverance that Van Kooy was able to make his way down to the bottom of the trail, both by walking and coasting on another bike, to where he could be transported by ambulance to hospital.

She said cycling has been a big part of Van Kooy’s life since he was a child, and had success in most cycling disciplines racing from BMX to downhill and cross-country.

“Aart has touched the lives of so many people in the cycling community, not only here but across British Columbia and truly worldwide,” she said. “He is a wizard-like bicycle mechanic, mentor, coach and trainer. Aart is a guy who always has a smile on his face, who is willing to go that extra mile to help you out.

“When a customer arrives just before closing with a bike problem that needs fixing, Aart is always the guy who steps up to help them out.”

Scott, who along with her partner was riding with the Van Kooys, says the foursome were in the midst of a fun Thanksgiving casual weekend ride when the accident occurred.

“We were not killing it by any stretch, and my partner was right behind him at the time. When he fell over, he asked him initially if he was all OK, but one look at his face, you could tell things were not right.”

Scott said the shop has already received calls from people outside the Okanagan who have heard about the accident and asking to help in some way.

So she organized a GoFundMe campaign for out-of-towners to make a financial contribution, but she is hoping local residents will stop by The Bike Barn or contact her to make a donation to a fundraising campaign started by the store.

“I was a bit hesitant with GoFundMe because there are costs associated with that whereas every cent donated directly to us can go the family. But it was more accessible to create the online page so people living elsewhere who wanted to help the the fundraising effort had a way to do that,” she said.

Donations can be made online to https://www.gofundme.com/aart-van-kooy-recovery-fund or directly to The Bike Barn, located at 300 Westminster Ave. W. in Penticton, by calling 250-492-4140 or email info@bikebarn.ca.



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Old English design elements can be seen in the sign of the Summerland Farm and Garden Centre in 1993. The guidelines are no longer in place, but some downtown businesses still show aspects of the days when Summerland had a theme in place. This photo was taken by Summerland photographer Dan Dorotich. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Old English theme has been abandoned

From the 1980s until the early 2000s, Summerland had design guidelines in its downtown

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Residents of Rural Keremeos, Olalla and Hedley are being asked to give feedback for the first Official Community Plan for the area. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Survey on RDOS Area G OCP open until April 30

The area’s first Official Community Plan is in the early stages of development

Nominally 'flushable' wipes caused one of Keremeos lift stations to shut down, damaging the pump inside. The Village is asking residents not to flush anything that isn't human waste. (Black Press)
Keremeos reminds residents not to flush wipes after pump damaged

‘Flushable’ wipes caused the pump to seize up and burn out

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Firefighters battled a burning home on farmland in the north end of Vernon Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Homeowner taken to hospital after Vernon home destroyed by fire

Firefighters engaged in a lengthy battle against the engulfed structure Saturday afternoon

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Okanagan dealership gives local cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over in surgical unit of Vernon hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

A group of youth in Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park are suspected as having violated the B.C. Wildlife Act by harassing a pair of nesting bald eagles with a drone Friday, April 16, 2021. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Nesting bald eagles harassed by youth-piloted drone in Kelowna

Conservation Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who witnessed the Knox Mountain incident

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

Most Read