Ride of Silence



Web Cast Wrap Up

January 15, 2011, 4:58 PM, Arlington, IL

We just wrapped up the Ride of Silence Midwest Organizer Planning Camp here in Arlington Hts., IL, courtesy of Gary Gilbert (Arlington Hts. organizer) and Elizabeth Adamczyk (Chicago organizer). 13 of us (9 organizers, 4 supporters/volunteers) were here in person with 3 phone callers, 9 webcast viewers from Seattle, Iowa, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio joined in. You can watch approx. 3 hrs. of the meeting via ustream


We had some great discussion. I think this meetg. can serve as a great model for other organizers in other areas of the US or the world to do similar meetgs for fellow organizers in their area to build community and improve our events.

Kudos to Gary and Elizabeth!

Tim Potter, RofS Web Master (pictured)



Web Cast: Saturday, Jan 15, 12 EST/1 CST

(The photo is from Steve Magas, the Ohio bke lawyer who wrote the stunning book "Bicycling & The Law" - http://ohiobikelawyer.com/about/. He's doing some great work researching police reported bike crashes: http://ohiobikelawyer.com/bike-law-101/2011/01/how-many-cycling-deaths-in-ohio-in-2010/)

Steve, along with RofS Founder Chris Phelan, will be calling into the web cast for the Midwest planning to coordinate directors, media, and volunteers. Rather than have people working against each other, host GARY GILBERT (Arlington, IL director, pictured below in Jan 8 blog entitled "Fatality Bike Maps") will bring together many of that area's coordinators to work together.

Gary: "I expect attendees from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Singapore. It should be a great time to share ideas.

"For those who are unable to attend – the plan is to broadcast the event LIVE on the Ustream.tv website. There is a very brief welcome video at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/11984951 We’re using the free service so there will be advertisements along with the video – we have no influence on the choice or frequency of advertisements so please just be patient.

"If you go to the http://www.ustream.tv/ website and search for GaryRideOfSilence you should be able to see the live feed. If you create a user id and logon the website, you will be able to communicate with us via the chat room. You can ask questions and make comments by typing into the chat room.

"I am going to attempt to record the session also and if we are successful, you will be able to play it back at a later date.
"Creating the webcast is an experiment. We’re amateurs at best."

For those of you attending in person, the location is:
814 E Hackberry Drive
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
We hope this will be a template for future meetings in the other areas of the US, Canada, Australia. We look forward to hearing from you.




So Far!

January 11, 2011 (1/11/11):
Our web master just sent out an email last night, letting us know we are up to 58 locations (52 domestically, 6 internationally).
Though it is far from where we have to go, and far from the 321 locations we had last year, I still find this impressive.
Consider the second year of The Ride Of Silence, in 2004. We reached 50 locations! FIFTY! That was incredible then, unheard of. Those 50 were spread from Hawaii to Montreal. That blew my mind. It was incredible to think there would be that many rides going off on the same day, at the same time. Wow! It was very heady stuff, hard to fathom, hard to believe.
As of today we have over that number spread across 5 continents. Incredible!
I know, I know. You're thinking "So what?" But with each ride we add to the map, our voice grows that much louder, literally dying to be heard. I appreciate every single ride, every addition, clump, pack, peleton, rally we can get out on May 18, 2011, 7 pm, no matter the location or the number of riders.
Though I can appreciate 58 registered rides on the web site, I want to see the map COVERED with dots. Dots everywhere, representing some passionate person out there riding slowly and silently, in memory of the thousands of cyclists killed, and in protest of how cyclists have become an invisible population to motorists, authorities, courts, city planners and insurance companies.
Last year we hit 321.
But there is no reason why we can't hit over 500! No reason.
How 'bout you, Europe? Think you can pony up with 50-75 rides? I think you can. And what about you, South America? Can I put you down for the same number, 50-75? Surely, yes. Japan? Australia? Africa? You, too, United States. Let's all get on the bus because we have a long way to go. So far, it's been nice. But we have so far to go, so far to go.
"Get on your bikes and ride!" - Freddie Mercury

You can see today's registered rides at:



FILLING A VOID: Dentist For Southeast Villages Killed In Bicycle Accident

(A story which mentions why The Ride Of Silence touches people's hearts.)


On a clear day from his dental office at the Kake Health Center, Dr. Stan Oldak would gaze across Chatham Strait to Baranof Island. On his left was Keku Strait and Kuiu Island. To his right, lay Frederick Sound.

Sound off on the important issues at It was a long way from his other pediatric practice in the heart of Manhattan.

"Once he finished for the day, he would call his friends in New York," said Mary Vincent, a physician assistant in Kake. "And I heard him say once, 'You know, this is the most beautiful view from a dental office of anywhere in the world.'"

Oldak began visiting Southeast Alaska in 2001 for eight weeks of the year as part of the specialty pediatric dental program that the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium runs in conjunction with Denali KidCare.

He was the only dentist that many of the children in Kake, Hoonah and Yakutat have ever known. They won't be seeing him again.

Family, friends and patients on both ends of the country are mourning the curious, adventurous doctor who balanced his professional life with cycling, skiing, beading, kayaking, photography, cello and a never-ending list of pursuits.

Oldak, 59, was killed by a hit-and-run driver in the early morning of May 6, near mile 208 of a 400-kilometer cycling qualifier. He was struck from behind by a pickup truck at a left-hand curve at 1:40 a.m., on Interstate 90, two miles from Columbus, Texas.

Oldak was wearing all the proper reflective gear, his friends said. He needed to finish the leg by 5 a.m. to qualify for the prestigious Paris-Brest-Paris international road race.

No arrests have been made in the accident.

Oldak is survived by two adult children, Jason and Emily, and his ex-wife, Janis.

"It was a really big race for him, and he had this kind of boyish enthusiasm that propelled him," said Richard Silverstein, Oldak's friend since the 1980s. "I can just imagine how excited he was."
Roughly 700 bicyclists are killed by vehicles each year, according to the organizers of the annual Ride of Silence (www.rideofsilence.org) which staged events on May 16 at hundreds of locations around the country.

This year, Oldak - the president of the New York Cycling Club - was honored at three of those rides: in Waterloo, Iowa; Columbus, Texas; and New York's Central Park.

"If he put his mind to something it would be achieved," wrote his son, Jason Oldak, in a eulogy posted at http://www.nycc.org/.

"He was remarkably gifted with his hands and his comprehension of the ways things work physically, and mentally, right brained and left. His passions and hobbies were endless. Life was always evolving for him and he brought that out in my sister and myself."

Oldak spent most his life in New York. He grew up in Brooklyn and studied dentistry at New York University. He spent eight years as a dentist in the U.S. Army, and eventually returned to Manhattan.

There, he ran a high-end pediatric practice with two other dentists near New York University. Many of their clients were the offspring of the rich and famous.

Oldak loved the culture of the big city. It fed his near-obsessive pursuit of knowledge. But he leapt at the chance to visit Alaska for the first time when SEARHC began its pediatric dentistry program in 2001.

It wasn't easy for him to leave his practice, but he made it work for two weeks at a time every three months.

"I tell people back home that this is one of the nicest things that's happened to me in my career as a pediatric dentist," Oldak told the Juneau Empire in May 2004.

"The only difference that I've found is that in New York the kids go 'ow' and in Hoonah the kids go 'owee,'" he said.

"He felt a social responsibility, and he knew what we were doing," said Tom Bornstein, the director of SEARHC's dental services department. "He bought into improving access to care for kids. And I think that part of it also was that he enjoyed travel and the adventure of it.

"I remember the first time he came back from Kake and had seen some black bears out there," Bornstein said. "Of course, after several years he had his own bear stories and his own plane stories just like the rest of us."

Oldak ate up the scenery, photographing everything he saw and collecting baskets and Native art, his friends said. He adapted quickly, and he was delighted to be accepted into the community.

"When they first started, lots of the kids needed a lot of dentistry and a lot of cavities needed to be filled," said Cynthia Valentine, Oldak's girlfriend and an orthodontic specialty assistant with SEARHC.

"He enjoyed the fact that every time he came to the villages, there was less and less immediate care needed, and more just preventive and continuing care."

"You can imagine when you've got a practice in New York what it involves to go out to Alaska a couple times a year, but his values trumped his comfort," Silverstein said.

"He felt like it was his professional obligation to try to help people who didn't have the opportunities that people have in areas that are well served by medicine."

• Korry Keeker can be reached at korry.keeker@juneauempire.com.



(L-R: Chicago organizer Elizabeth Adamczyk, Chris Phelan, League of American Bicyclists Andy Clarke, Arlington-Illinois organizer Gary Gilbert, RofS Board VP Mark Hagar at the Michigan Bike Summit held March 2010.)

J Steve Mayo, our Seattle ride director, has found several maps showing bike fatalities and injuries.

"Results vary depending if you are logged into Google or not, so here is the link to the search:
search for user-created maps (6 results, with 1 of 6 shown)- the one shown for me is a fatality/injury map for Iowa roads by Scott S. (see link below)
Next click See all 6 results for "Ride of Silence" user-created maps- this adds orange mouse-over dots for the 93 business results (above)
Here are the six I was able to dig up, since the results seem to vary:
Ride of Silence - ongoing fatality/injury map for Iowa roads
2007 RoS route map for South Lake Tahoe
2010 RoS map for Chatham-Kent- Ontario, Canada
Ride of Silence (all years + planning) Seattle‎
Ride of Silence 2008‎ - Orlando FL (from a .kmz mapping file)
Westside Ride of Silence 2010‎ - Beaverton(Portland), Oregon
Ride of Silence 2010 - Singapore‎ (proposed)
Ride of Silence - Carpark and East Route and back - 2010 Singapore
Ride of Silence 2010, Singapore‎
Ride of Silence SA‎ - South Africa - Ray's 12 city tour
Zoom around the map to see what you find.

Today: OVER 50 LOCATIONS. Ahead Of Pace

From the desk of our web master, Tim Potter:
Here's a great milestone for this early in the year. We just got our 50 ride location for 2011.
Last year we had 45 registered by this date, so we're ahead of last year! I'll be updating our graphical map soon."
This should encourage ride directors and people who are considering hosting a ride (it's really quite easy: http://www.rideofsilence.org/howto.php and http://rideofsilence.org/addlocation.php) to go ahead and list the ride on the web site. This will give people (and the media) knowlegde of a ride in the area. And as we all know, the more sites there, the more attention our cause gets.
The date, time, distance, and speed are already set (May 18, 7 PM, 8-12 miles, no more than 12 MPH).
You just have to decide on a location, and list it. It's that easy.



January 3, 2011: "HPPY NY :) "

(The title is a play on texting, something we are all trying to live with, especially motorists.)

I stared out the second floor bedroom window of my sister-in-laws house. My wife Janalou was in the bathroom. We were both getting ready for bed, barely hanging on to midnight to see the year in. Since their house sits on a hillside with downtown in the far distance, we could almost watch the fireworks from our bed as we drifted off.

The world was “out there” beyond the window and in the dark. I was looking for sign posts to guide me into the year that was about to start. Other than my own insight, there was none.

I continued to look into the dark. I was trying to find a reason and make sense of the past year, and years that have brought me to this point in space and time. The trails, roads, fields, mountains, and oceans I’ve traveled; the sorrows and joys; the disappointments and victories; the loves and friendships won and lost; the lost opportunity but intuitive luck; the set backs over come by persistence; and the realization of what I needed, instead of what I thought I wanted.

Despite the year it’s been for you, never forget to include the blessings of all the intersections you crossed safely. Don’t forget the good things. Don’t let the clouds block out the sun. May your failures be forgiven, and your hurts healed.

If I asked you what your prized possession was, hopefully you wouldn’t include something material, something that could be burned up in a fire, would rust, or be stolen. I would hope you’d include a memory, maybe of a person you met, fell in love with, and remained in touch with. (If you’re not in contact, call him or her. It might take two calls, so be patient.)

This post is the official kick off of something I wish weren’t necessary. Though The Ride Of Silence has been accepting submissions of ride locations since September, early January is when things seemingly go into “high gear.” This is a ride that I wish didn’t happen. Sad. But there is no one, but us, who holds a memorial for lost cyclists. Yet the number of cyclists killed dictates that such an event of acknowledgement as ours should exist.

Please sign up your ride. Now is the time.

Check here to see if there is a ride near you; if not please consider telling the world you will be riding May 18, 7 pm, by going here to fill out a form which takes only a couple minutes.

This year, I am hoping to be one of the speakers at the National Bike Summit on March 8-10. I want to address the US cycling lobby, as well as speak to as many Congressmen, face to face, as possible. I want to lobby them to: 1) get on a bike; 2) ride with The Ride Of Silence: and 3) show solidarity with us.

This is an opportunity to help this movement forward. This is a chance to for this volunteer organization that hosts a free ride to become a louder voice in the US, where we are drowned out by full time lobbyists with a budget.

Here’s the budget:

The Summit costs $580 per person to attend. But, if we receive permission for our representatives to give a presentation, our cost goes down to $375.

Looking at air travel from Dallas to Wash., DC, we think we can get it a single round trip ticket for $500.

Lodging at the Sofitel (806 15th Street NW, (202) 730-8800, Mention League of American Bicyclists) is $259 per night (three nights) is $777. But, I am hoping to use the “Home Stay” program. (If one of you would like to host us while we're at the Summit, please let me know, so that we don't have to stay with strangers that have no interest in the RoS.)

The TOTAL we are looking for is $875. Can you help? Are you able to assist The Ride Of Silence? We still need help with transportation, both to get us there, and once we get there, to get around. Can you help? If so please send a donation via check to:

The Ride Of Silence – Nat’l Bike Summit
609 Trail View Lane
Garland, TX 75043Or, via PayPal online by going to our Donations page on our website.

Last year I was able to attend the Michigan Bike Summit and it was wonderful to be around such encouraging and supportive people. We drove each other with the common interests of bicycle safety and inclusion into the main stream. It would be a great step for The Ride Of Silence to be among the policy makers to spread the word about this great event.

But we won’t be able to without your help? Please consider us in your giving.

Other Ride of Silence Happenings:

We're excited about an event that a our key organizers in the Chicagoland area (Gary Gilbert and Elizabeth Adamczyk, also on the RoS advisory board) have organized for January 15th.

Gary says, “Each of us have different issues surrounding organizing the Ride of Silence from engaging the community, police, press, cyclists in the planning to actually holding the ride. We can all learn from each other to make the 2011 ride a success.”

It's a Ride of Silence Organizer's Camp which is open to any RoS organizers in the Midwest and may also be web-casted for others around the country and the world to tune in and benefit from the discussions. Gary and Elizabeth hope that participants will share ideas for improving their events, promotion tips and challenges among many other topics.

Contact Gary by Jan. 13th if you're interested in attending in person or if you'd like to receive details for the possible webcast/conference call: gary.bicycles@comcast.net

Thank you. Here’s to 2011. Here’s to you. Stay active.