Cyclist Killed on Clybourn Loved Chicago and His Bike

By Paul Biasco on May 30, 2013 1:29pm | Updated on May 30, 2013 4:01pm

OLD TOWN — Bobby Cann loved his adopted city almost as much as he loved his bike.

Just days after showing off Chicago's highlights to his mom who was visiting from New Hampshire for the first time, the 26-year-old on Wednesday was struck and killed by a car while riding home from work.

Cann always wore a helmet and knew well the route from his job at Groupon to his Lakeview apartment.

Cann was headed down Clybourn Avenue in Old Town about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday when he was struck in front of Yojimbo's Garage bicycle shop near Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street.

He was wearing a helmet when he was hit Wednesday night, but that couldn't protect him from the violent crash, according to witnesses.

"I heard it and it sounded bad," said Marcus Moore, owner of Yojimbo's Garage.

Moore, 40, ran into the street to try to help Cann, who was unconcious and bleeding badly.

"I tried to help the best I could," Moore said. "Most of the people on the sidewalk were in shock, quite understandly."

Police are questioning a man driving the car that struck Cann. The driver stayed on the scene after the accident and had not been charged with with anything as of Thursday morning, police said.

Minutes before Cann was struck, he called his girlfriend to let her know he was on his way home.

"He was extremely experienced and always cautious and aware," said Cann's roommate and best friend Drew Ellis, who called the accident "so shocking."

Cann's mother Maria said her son rode his bike to and from work everyday, even in the winter.

"He had a car the first year he lived [in Chicago] and said, 'This is stupid. It's more trouble than it's worth,'" she said.

Cann, who moved to Chicago from New Hampshire in 2010, frequently biked to Milwaukee to visit family. He even rode from New Hampshire to Chicago on a three-week solo trip in 2010 after his brother's high school graduation.

"He was a very, very avid cyclist," his mother said.

 A cyclist was fatally struck by a car about 6:35 p.m. near Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street, police said.
A cyclist was fatally struck by a car about 6:35 p.m. near Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street, police said.
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On Wednesday night Cann's friends — and he had many — left the hospital and gathered at his apartment. They didn't know what else to do.

"We hardly believed what happened. He was like a brother to me," said Ellis. "He was a lot of people's best friend just because that's the kind of person he was. You wanted him to be your best friend."

Ellis said Cann's friends considered the cyclist an "incredible person" because he "genuinely cared about a lot of things."

"It was important to him that other people in the world were doing OK," Ellis said.

He advocated cycling and participated in Critical Mass, an organized effort in which cyclists band together and ride in order to "take back the streets" on the last Friday of every month.

Critical Mass was something he always thought was pretty important," Ellis said.

Friday night members of Critial Mass plan on honoring Cann by riding by the site of the crash and possibly setting up a ghost bike memorial.

"As a longtime cyclist it seems like once a year I know somebody who dies on their bike in the city," Moore, who has owned Yojimbo Garage for 16 years, said. "It's something you live with, I guess."

Although Cann had only lived in Chicago for three years, he loved the city, his job, and his friends and was truly happy, according to his mother.

He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in journalism in 2010, and journalism was his first love, according to Maria Cann. Unable to find a journalism job, he moved to Chicago.

Here, Cann met his girlfriend and persuaded Ellis, whom he had known since he was 6, to move to the city.

"We moved into the cheapest, crappiest apartment we could find," Ellis said.

Last weekend when Maria Cann visited Chicago for the first time, she got to see firsthand how happy her son was in the city.

The two saw a play at Steppenwolf, went on a riverboat architecture tour, journeyed to the top of the John Hancock Center, browsed the Art Institute and visited Cloud Gate, the bean-like structure in Millennium Park.

"He was just showing off the city that he loved," she said.

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