Our dear friend Claudia Comberti was killed by a bus whilst cycling on the Botley Road on Tuesday 9th May 2017.

Still reeling between shock and sadness, smiling at the love and beauty generated by friends and communities coming together, it’s so hard to write about a friend recently lost. How to give adequate praise to thirty one years lived by such a wild and wonderful spirit as Claudia?

Losing Claudia has made us all realise how indebted Tandem is to her. She was on the early festival committee back in 2013 and helped shaped the values that now define the festival and the wider collective. Tandem has always been more than just a festival, it’s a display of how we can all live out our ethical values in day to day life, with the love, support and inspiration of the community around us.

Claudia was a shining example of this and was an inspiration to us all. She somehow managed to show her ethical stance on life in an instinctive, kind and joyous way, never preaching or raising her voice, she taught by example and through constructive debate and discussion.

She showed the depth of her character and her ethical convictions through daily action; jogging and cycling everywhere, eating only vegan food, regularly sleeping outside in her hammock, climbing trees, wild swimming and dedicating her life to the study of adaptation to climate change within Amazonian communities.

Importantly for Oxford, Claudia was also a key link between the University and the city. She boldly showed how Academia has to constantly reach out, how it is only useful if integrated into the wider community that supports it.

Oxford in all its many colours was truly blessed to be called home by Claudia.

It was with deep sadness and determination that Claudia’s community came together on Wednesday in a cycling procession from Carfax to the site of the accident. To show solidarity for a cyclist lost and in our anger and disbelief at her death, to peacefully protest at the lack of adequate safety provisions for cyclists on Oxford’s roads- a city famed for its bikes.

We will continue to protest in this way in memory of Claudia.

Broken Spoke Bike Coop is asking everyone who feels affected by what has happened, whether you knew Claudia or not, to join us on Broad Street on Friday May 12th at 7pm to ride together – to show the solidarity and strength of our community, to celebrate a life, to imagine better streets, a better city, to take space for people on bikes. And for Claudia.

Tandem Festival 2017 will be held in memory of Claudia, to continue the celebration of her life, to bring the community together, to listen, learn and dance in nature and to get energised to bring about positive change in whatever way we can.

Many other plans are in the pipeline to make sure Claudia’s death will lead to positive action, to continue to take small and big steps to change the world in ways that would make her proud.

We raise a dram of her favourite whisky to the beautiful Claudia, an original Tandemer, her smile, hammock, neckerchiefs and elf hats will be forever in our hearts and memories.


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