Exclusive: Tributes from partner of man killed on one of Sheffield’s most dangerous roads for cyclists
Mónica Bolado, 56, tells her story of what it was like to lose her soulmate just months before they were supposed to retire in Spain together.
Dr Adrian Lane was returning home from his usual Monday afternoon ride when he was hit by a driver who ‘didn’t see him’, costing him his life and the bright future he had planned with his partner, Mónica Bolado.
Mónica, mother of three, was in Santander, Spain when the incident happened. It was four months before the Christmas season when Adrian planned to wind out his business and move to Spain to be with her.
The pair first met in 1994 when Mónica joined the diving club at Kingston University in search of friends and instead met Adrian, an Earth Science student.
Mónica says the man she met that day was “like a puppy dog. He was very energetic and positive.”
She said: “I thought, ‘This guy was amazing’ and then he spoke to me in perfect Spanish, and I fell in love immediately.”
Though the pair fell deeply for one another, the timing wasn’t quite right, and Adrian and Mónica went their separate ways.
It was 25 years later when they found one another again on Facebook and met again for the first time in 2018.
Mónica said: “That was it. It was instant. When I saw him again, I thought, ‘Wow, he’s even better than before.’”
The pair commuted between Santander and Sheffield for four years before Adrian decided to sell his IT business and move to Spain to live with Mónica, who would go back to working as a high schoolteacher.
“IT is too serious. It’s not me anymore I want to do something that feels more satisfying,” Adrian, 58, told Mónica months prior. “Maybe I’ll grow vegetables or get us some chickens.”
With flights booked, Adrian was due to visit Mónica in just five days when her world would come crashing down around her.
At 5:20 pm on September 15, Adrian sent Mónica the last picture she’d received from him. Adrian was at the midway point of his usual weekly ride, which would take him from their home in Greystones to the Dale and then back within an hour to have dinner with his 17-year-old son, Sam.
At 6:30 pm, she received a message from Sam asking, ‘Have you heard from my dad?’.
Mónica told Sam about the picture, but as time soon passed with no sign of Adrian, they became worried. Mónica began phoning friends and asked one neighbour to go searching with Sam.
She said: “I thought, at worse, that maybe he was in a ditch with a broken leg.”
Sam was just about to leave to search for his dad when the police showed up.
Adrian had been hit by a vehicle while riding home. He suffered fatal injuries and was rushed to the hospital, but died in the hospital.
Mónica said: “I was on a flight the next morning. When I got into the flat: he wasn’t there. It was real.
“I arrived, and the nightmare started.”
In the days that followed, Mónica wasn’t able to sleep, eat or even speak.
She said: “For the next few days, I was simply in shock. At one point, I thought that I could die from sadness.”
Adrian’s death left Mónica planning a funeral instead of a new start in life with her soulmate.
“It’s been tough,” Mónica says today, almost two months since the accident. “It’s been really tough because we got to an age that we knew what we wanted and… that’s what we wanted, to be together. He was my life.
“Our kids were grown up – I had two at university, Adrian had one more about to join university – and that was it. It was our time to be together.”
Following the loss of Adrian, his family and friends decided something needed to be done.
They started the Lane Campaign to fight for the improvement of road conditions for cyclists along Ringinglow Road.
Mónica said: “Adrian used his bike daily. To go to work, to go shopping, to visit friends, to go to concerts and more, but the roads in Sheffield don’t do anything to protect cyclists.
“The [Ringinglow-Common Lane] junction is horrible.”
The Lane Campaign has since arranged a ghost bike, a bicycle roadside memorial next to the Common Lane road sign to raise awareness of the dangers to both cyclists and motorists along Ringinglow Road.
In recent weeks, an anonymous civilian has changed the Common Lane sign to Adrian Lane in an unofficial re-name in tribute to Adrian, a much-loved cyclist in the community.
When Mónica saw it for the first time, she said: “I was extremely touched by the action of these anonymous individuals, although I understand that it might have caused some confusion. I was so pleased to see that it was not only me who was suffering the deep loss and love for Adrian.
“But I was also pleased because I know Adrian would’ve loved it.”