Cyclist succumbs to injuries
By Donna Beth Weilenman
Craig Elstins, the 51-year-old Benicia bicyclist who was critically hurt while riding with friends in Martinez Oct. 20, has died in Walnut Creek from his injuries, a family friend said Monday.
Elstins, who was thrown from his Venge bicycle when he encountered a group of turkeys while riding west on Alhambra Valley Road, died about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
He and about a half-dozen friends often met up for extended Saturday morning rides in the Bay Area.
That morning, they had crossed the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and were traveling along the popularly called “Pig Farm” route, named for the site of a former hog farm that cyclists pass along the way.
As they traveled single file along a steep decline, one cyclist passed the flock, or rafter, of turkeys without incident.
Elstins was following the preceding rider, but just as he was about to pass them the turkeys ran in front of his bicycle, and Elstins fell. Witnesses said the turkeys appeared to escape unhurt.
But Elstins suffered head trauma, broken ribs and a broken jaw. He was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek.
Elstins was wearing a helmet. He was such an experienced rider that his fellow cyclists said they often sought information from him.
He was a member of the Benicia Bicycle Club and participated in its time trials, and had been a competitor in both bicycle and motorcycle racing events.