Avid cyclist fatally struck in McAllen

McALLEN — A woman known for her affinity for bicycling was killed Monday while out on a morning ride.

Melissa Robles, 32, was struck by a car in the 1600 block of South Second Street at approximately 5 a.m., McAllen police spokesman Lt. Joel Morales said. Robles, a Pharr resident, was transported to a local hospital where she later died.

She was a member of 5AM Wake-Up Ride, a group of cyclists who ride together before work, as well as part of Team McAllen Cycling. The Rio Grande Valley cycling community took to social media Monday to post tributes to their friend and fellow rider.

“Melissa was and still will be the center of a lot of people’s world,” wrote Team McAllen Cycling President Michael McNew on Facebook. “Today the actions of another took you away from doing something you truly loved and that was riding your bike … Her countless hours of dedication to something we all love so dearly will be cherished.”

“I know that Mel was always a safe rider; she had lights and a reflective vest,” said Mike Padgett, a friend and fellow rider who first met her through 5AM Wake-Up Ride. “She was a very visible, conscientious and good rider.”

Padgett, 67, and Robles began riding together with a few other friends outside of the group’s scheduled rides, which ended with long conversations at a coffee shop.

“We had to justify the coffee and the donuts,” Padgett said, adding, “Mel was a super kid. She was more like a daughter to me.”

He was supposed to ride with Robles Monday, when she had planned to go out with her brother who had just purchased a new bike.

“This was the maiden voyage on the bike,” Padgett said.

Dr. Julio De La Fuente, another riding friend, was also supposed to join Robles Monday.

“Melissa was a kind and funny person that always had a smile,” De La Fuente said. “She was an inspiration to everyone who met her and always willing to lend a helping hand.”

He said he plans to do the Shiner GASP, a 100 mile bike ride from Austin to Shiner, Texas, in her honor this May. It was a race they had wanted to do together because they would see the Shiner beer truck pass by the coffee shop they frequented after it made its morning H-E-B delivery.

Police said the investigation into the collision is ongoing, and any charges the driver may face will be determined during the investigation.

Padgett said that distracted drivers are the biggest risk to cyclists in the Rio Grande Valley.

Robles’ brother started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her funeral and burial expenses. By Monday evening, it had raised nearly $10,000.