Adam Wesley Little was the type of cyclist who was always there to give a fellow rider a push up a steep hill.
He was the type that would hand over the last sips from his water bottle to a struggling teammate at the end of a long race.
Little, 35, of Mount Pleasant, was struck and killed by a car March 17 as he commuted to work on his bike, riding southbound on N.C. 49 near Concord. Now his friends and teammates are riding on with a cause: ensure that Adam didn't die in vain.
About 20 cyclists from the Subaru Gary Fisher Road Team, the professional cycling team of which Little was a member, will participate in BIKE! Charlotte, a 16-day event to promote cycling for transportation and recreation. They'll ride as a team in Little's honor in the Mayor's Ride, a group ride Friday with local politicians in Charlotte.
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"Our purpose is to try to send a message to political leaders that we're serious about bike safety," said team member Marianne Holt of Matthews.
Holt said the group wants to encourage enforcement of traffic laws and education about biking safety for cyclists and drivers.
"We just want to be respected, and we just want to live," she said. "We want people to understand the rules of the road."
Little was the N.C. manager of the Carolina Subaru/Gary Fisher Elite Road Team, a group of more than 20 members who compete in races across the country.
Little's teammate Shane Martin of Harrisburg said Little probably spent 15-20 hours a week biking.
"He just loved the sport," he said. "He loved to ride."
Stacy Renee Shaw, 24, the driver of the car that struck Little, has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle in connection with the crash. She also has been charged with a child restraint violation. Little was wearing proper safety gear, including a helmet, and he had a safety light on the back of his bicycle, according to police.
Biking on local roads is dangerous when drivers are distracted by texting and talking on cell phones, said Maj. Wendell Rummage of the Concord Police Department. He said serious accidents involving cyclists don't occur frequently in the area, but when drivers are distracted by something as simple as turning the radio knob or turning around a curve, the potential for collision increases significantly.
Little, a former Mount Pleasant High School biology teacher, is survived by his wife, Melissa, and daughters, Aidan, 6, and Wesley, 2.
Melissa Little said her husband enjoyed biking because of the tight-knit community among the cyclists. It's like a family, she said.
"The thing I keep hearing over and over is how much he encouraged people," she said.
Little was a selfless cyclist, said Darren Fuller, Little's teammate and boss at Contractors Flooring in Charlotte, where Little worked as a production manager.
"Our sport is a very selfish sport," Fuller said. "If you're going to get to the top, you have to step over others. Adam was unique in that he always had a hand out for somebody who needed help."
He rode at the back of the group to provide encouragement to those struggling, Fuller said, and he took care of the other cyclists, always making sure their tires were pumped and they had enough water before a race.
"He was always the last person to the start line."