FRIENDS have honoured developer Phil Hanna with a 200km ride to his hometown from Melboune.
The widely-respected Villawood Properties CEO died suddenly over Christmas. Last Friday marked his birthday.
Twenty mates used the ride to Bendigo as a chance to heal as they followed a path Mr Hanna sometimes used in epic rides of his own, cyclist Ben Griffiths said.
Mr Hanna had been a key member of the Elwood Canal Peloton, a group of weekend riders from Melbourne.
The group had drifted apart in recent years as people had children or got tied up with other commitments, Mr Griffiths said.
"A year ago, this would never have happened. So this is great, but it's also really sad," he said.
"Phil was one of my best friends. He was also a life mentor."
All riders had a picture of Mr Hanna stuck to their handle bars, which had been taken by Peter Montgomery on a trip through famed cycling hotspots in Europe's Pyrenees mountain range.
"I started planning this ride a week after Phil's death," Mr Montgomery said.
"He and I had been talking about riding up as a group for years, but never had. I mentioned this idea to ride up to the boys and they said 'no problem, let's do it'."
Some of those who rode on Saturday had spent months training for the trip, Mr Griffiths said.
"There's a big difference in abilities here, but it was a big team effort," he said.
"Some of them have put in a good four or five month block of training."
The group invited Bendigo-based friends and family to a dinner on Saturday night.
"We didn't want it to be about us, we wanted it to be about the community of Bendigo and anybody who knew Phil, because they are grieving as well," Mr Montomery said.
Mr Hanna's brother Steve said the dinner had proven to have been a healing event.
"There were lots of friends and family there reliving old times," he said.
About 800 people attended Phil Hanna's funeral in Bendigo six months ago, with hundreds of others going to a Melbourne remembrance service the following week.
Mr Hanna was widely remembered for his character, professionalism and integrity, his company VIllawood Properties said in a statement after his death.
"Phil achieved a fine balance in his career, bringing to the table the best aspects of both the public and private sectors. This has been proven in the outpouring of grief and condolences we have received from the wider industry," the statement read.
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