Friends, family recall cyclist killed in hit-and-run as adventurous
Rick Archer had an adventurous spirit and desired to travel. And if he was intrigued by a new or interesting activity — like the art of fire spinning, for example — he could pick it up in no time, as if he had been practicing it his entire life.
“He had this kind of a knack for doing things,” said Leanne Greenman, Archer’s ex-wife and close friend. “He would try things that would make you go, ‘I don’t know about that.’ And then he would just learn them very fast. He was just always curious.”
Archer died Tuesday. He had been struck by a hit-and-run driver in the Back Bay neighborhood during the weekend.
Investigators said a silver sedan hit Archer around 3:19 a.m. Sunday near Commonwealth Avenue and Clarendon Street as he was riding his bike home with a friend.
Boston police on Tuesday seized a car they believe was involved in the crash, but were still searching for its driver. Investigators towed a silver Toyota Camry with New York license plates from Boston Common Garage, several blocks from where Archer was hit.
Boston Police Officer Rachel McGuire said the vehicle fit the description of the car captured on surveillance video Sunday morning.
She said investigators were trying to secure a warrant to search the vehicle, which had a cracked windshield and front-end damage.
Archer is the fourth cyclist in the state to die this year, according to the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, a bicycle advocacy group.
Greenman, who has known Archer for seven years, said the 29-year-old was returning to his apartment in South Boston after attending a midnight showing of “Point Break,” at Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre, at the time of the incident.
As news of Archer’s death reverberated throughout Boston’s close-knit bike community Tuesday, friends and family shared fond memories of the avid cyclist. They described him as selfless, caring, charismatic, and good-natured. He was wise, they said, and handsome, and committed to humanitarian causes.
“He was really something,” Greenman said. “He was an explorer, he was curious, and he always wanted to know more about people and to help people. He had this unbelievable heart.”
Patti Lech, Archer’s aunt, wrote on Facebook that her nephew had touched the lives of so many, and would continue to do so.
“I watched you grow up to be a selfless and giving man,” she wrote. “I have always been and always will be so proud to be your aunt. I love you so much and will always remember that wonderful smile that just lights up the room.”
Mike Shick, Archer’s former roommate, said he last saw his friend Saturday night, hours before the crash. Shick had dropped Archer off at the Alewife MBTA station.
He said Archer had been in a good place. He was happy, and at peace. The two had spent part of the evening sitting by a fire at Shick’s home in Weston, talking about traveling to Central America when winter returned. Archer also brought up the prospect of buying a boat, and learning to sail.
“Adventures all the time. He just wanted to get out and really see and do everything,” Shick said. “He also had this deep need for openness and freedom. I think that’s why he liked to bike all the time.”
Shick said Archer could relate and talk to anyone, and was never uncomfortable. You would want him to hang out, he said, because he had “this kindness, this deep and peaceful kindness.”
Dorothy Bassett, who kept in touch with Archer through Facebook, said the loss of her friend “feels unreal.”
Bassett shared a picture Tuesday online of Archer sitting in a canoe on the Saco River in New Hampshire, a grin across his face.
The two had gone on a trip with friends, and she hoped that, by posting the picture, others would remember “the good times” they all had with Archer.
“And the vibrant, optimistic, and wonderful person that Rick was,” Bassett said.
Archer, who received his bachelor’s degree in international relations from Suffolk University, worked for the last few years at Fly Over the City, a bike courier firm, friends said.
The company on Tuesday posted two pictures of Archer, with his bike, to its Facebook page. Above the two photos the company wrote, “A great man and a great messenger.”
Aside from his passion for riding around on two wheels, Archer was also remembered for his ability to make a profound impact on those around him.
Ian Lippincott, a former coworker, first met Archer in 2011, he said.
Lippincott was “in a sea of strangers” at a festival when Archer swung down from a tree like a monkey, cheerily introduced himself, and broke the “social ice.”
The two became fast friends.
“[He was] happy-go-lucky, jovial, and he had that energy,” he said. “He was an angel in the flesh; that’s why it hurts a lot. He was a super-good dude, all the way around.”