Ride of Silence




April 28, 2008, 8 PM


(I have a ton of things to get done. I bet I’m two weeks behind on everything. But The Ride Of Silence rolls on. It’s coming whether I’m ready or not.)

As of today, there are 163 Ride Of Silence locations in the world, with only 10 U.S. states not reporting a site (Utah, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, New Hampshire, Mississippi, and Arkansas). That’s good. …so far.

Yes, I’m happy about the locations so far. But, my psyche pulls at me. “Why are there 10 states that do NOT have rides?” Alaska I could understand. But even they are in. (Thank you Alaska!) But these 10 are part of the “Lower Forty-Eight?” Why?

I am struck year after year why our ride is so strong in some places and not in others. Austin, Texas, four hours away in the state where the ride started, the home of Lance Armstrong, biking Mecca for many, struggles every year. There have been years when there was NOT a Ride Of Silence there, while last year there were 300 other sites that were successful. Go figure. I shake my head.

Tami, this year’s organizer tells me, “We have done a Ride of Silence in Austin in the past, but with not a huge turnout – I am told. A few of us are trying to get the message out this year for a great turnout. A couple of my friends met this weekend and were up met with some road blocks.” Why? Road blocks? Really! The doors should fly open for the city to host the ride. FLY OPEN. Geez. I don’t get it.

This year Louisville, Kentucky is throwing in the towel. The organizer says the local cycling community doesn’t support the ride, doesn’t come out for the ride. I am shocked. Why? How can it NOT?

What we ride for affects all of us. You can NOT come up with a demographic the bumper of a motorist doesn’t avoid. The bumper doesn’t care who you ride for, or what’s on your jersey. Blood and life seeps through them equally. Your bike jersey will hold a dead body as well as a live one, and in most cases without you having a choice.

Upset? How can you look at The Ride Of Silence Memorial Page and NOT be. Did you read the Bicycling Magazine article on the damage being done on the roads? It was one of the most profound bike articles I have ever read. It was stupefying in its list of those hit, and killed, where the motorist walked. How can one NOT be upset when someone passes up the chance to light a candle, to assemble peacefully, and stand in silent defiance? How can someone be that callous, preoccupied, or worse, ignorant? NOT.
The above picture was taken before I arrived at the back of the pack the second year our ride was held. This is the end of the 2004 Ride Of Silence. There was about 2,000 that year. That year was the first year it went outside of Dallas, TX. That year at least 50 locations from Hawaii to Montreal talked me into organizing the ride beyond my own city. It was then I began to gain insight into and an appreciation for, The Ride Of Silence, and just how many of you are out there with no closure after losing a loved one who was innocently riding his or her bike. How could I NOT help organize the largest single day free event of the world?

Some days, it just doesn’t matter how busy you are. You just can NOT say, “NOT.”
Go get'em!