‘A heck of a guy’: Ghost bike memorial honours Calgary businessman who died in motorcycle crash

Ron Bernier's ghost bike memorial near Cochrane, Alta. Tim Webber / Global News

It was a sendoff Calgarian Ron Bernier would have been proud of.

Benier, 63, died in a motorcycle crash near Cochrane on May 17.

On Saturday, dozens of bikers, family and friends gathered for a memorial ride and “ghost bike” ceremony.

“I’m just so thrilled the people here today can appreciate what he did and how he helped people,” said wife Terri Bernier.

READ MORE: Second ghost bike memorial unveiled in Calgary after fatal motorcycle crash

Riders YYC gathered parts to create the ghost bike and arranged the ride.

“This one used parts from five different bikes and took a couple of weeks to put together,” Riders YYC co-founder Trinity Chehade said.

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“Our wonderful friend Jay kept it in his garage and helped put it together. These guys get emotional when they make these bikes because you just know what it’s for.”

Riders share messages on the ghost bike memorial. Tim Webber / Global News

Paul Then said he was riding with Bernier at the time of the accident and didn’t leave his side until the ambulance took him away.

He hopes to make a plaque to add to the crash site in memory of his friend.

“He was a heck of a guy,” Then said. “A really, really nice person. Always friendly, helped everyone. He took people off the streets to give them a job.”

READ MORE: Calgary motorcycle crash sends man to hospital with life-threatening injuries

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For Terri, it’s a chance to say goodbye to her husband of 36 years and reflect on the many stories of a life well-lived.

The couple started a motorcycle shop out of their garage, which became Bikes on Barlow.

“We worked hand-in-hand for about six weeks to change that shop into an amazing place we were both proud of,” Terri recalled.

“He worked so hard. He just loved what he did.”

READ MORE: Man dead after single-motorcycle crash in Calgary

While Bikes on Barlow turned into a hot spot for the riding community, Bernier’s favourite visitor was always his grandson, Bruce.

Their family is grateful Ron got to meet his newborn grandchild, Grayson, over FaceTime the day before he died.

Bernier and his grandson, Bruce. Courtesy Carli Bernier

“We have three children — Jassi, Carli and Kalen — and two grandbabies,” Terri added. “He was absolutely the best dad and grandpa on the planet.”

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The groups hope the ghost bike will keep Bernier’s memory alive and serve as a reminder to all motorists to keep safety top of mind.

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