Day 137: Ride of Silence Update

20 05 2010

Last night was the worldwide Ride of Silence. The annual event honors cyclists who have been injured or killed and helps raise awareness of the need for cyclists and motorists to share the road. This is the first time we participated in the ride. Video of the ride is included on my Videos page

Carrick and I set off on our bikes after dinner to get downtown in time for the pre-ride gathering. I’m not good at judging crowd sizes, but I heard it estimated that there were around 100 cyclists who showed up for the ride. Not bad for a cool, cloudy evening. 

Participants in the 2010 Ride of Silence, Louisville, KY

 

This little pup seemed to enjoy the ride.

 

The ride organizer explained the history and the purpose of the event and reminded everyone to remain silent for the duration of the 10 mile ride. 

Then it was time to start. As we all headed out, I expected there might be a few people who would speak in hushed tones, but no one spoke. It was so odd to have a large group of cyclists remaining silent. Regular group rides are full of talking and laughing. Aside from city traffic noise, all I heard was the sound of bikes around us and the clicking-in of shoes on pedals. Immediately, I became more aware of how noisy city streets and traffic can be. And how emotional and motivating silence can be. 

There was not a police escort for our ride, so as we rode through downtown, the large group split into smaller groups when we had to stop for traffic signals. At one traffic light, a woman riding in an SUV stopped next to us, rolled down her window and asked, “What’s the ride for?” Several of us looked over, smiled and remained silent. After a couple seconds, the woman said, “Oh, silence?” then smiled and quietly said, “sorry.” By that point someone in our group handed her a flyer explaining the purpose of the ride and our silence. (Since I hadn’t participated in the ride before, I came ill-prepared and didn’t have flyers with me. Next time.) 

Group of riders stopped at a traffic light.

 

The ride contined into the Portland neighborhood. Many people were out in front yards, sidewalks and on front porches. A man yelled out, “What’s the occasion?” When he got smiles or waves, but no verbal response, he yelled it out again. Another rider with a flyer to the rescue. Many other people just watched us silently pass by, probably wondering why no one was talking. Some bystanders looked rather confused. 

Another group waiting at a traffic light.

 

As cars in the neighborhood pulled up to a stop sign on a side street, I was impressed to see that no one seemed angry or impatient with us. They simply waited for the group to pass before they continued down the road. No one honked, no one flipped us off or shouted obscenities. Not that I heard anyway. 

Route map

 

Near the end of the ride, we were in a small group of about 10 riders at a traffic signal. An ambulance drove through the intersection with sirens blasting, heading out on a call. It was a very sobering sound cutting through the silence. Maybe I’m overly emotional this week or maybe it was remembering why we were doing the ride in the first place, but for some reason I suddenly felt teary as the ambulance passed. I guess it drove home the point that we all need to be careful out there. 

This guy's jersey says it all.

 

Today’s food journal: 

Breakfast:
— Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie = 385 cal. 

Lunch:
— Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich = 430
— Iced tea = 10 

Dinner:
— Lean Cuisine Fettucini Alfredo = 330
— Organic low-fat chocolate milk = 180 

Snack:
— Skinny Cow cookies & cream ice cream cup = 120 

Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. 

          _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.

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