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The Ride of Silence by Mark Manson

Submitted by on May 10, 2010 – 9:32 amOne Comment

The Ride of Silence is a memorial ride dedicated to cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding on public roads. This year’s ride will be on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm, at hundreds of locations worldwide.  In Dallas, the ride starts at the park at West Lawther and Fisher Road. Go to their website for details about the ride in your area, you can also join their Facebook page.

The Ride of Silence by Mark Manson

Ride of Silence logo

Ride of Silence logo

I remember the first time I read about the Ride of Silence. It was  2003. I was in New Orleans, working in a bike shop. The year previous, two local cyclists were killed while on a group ride. I shared a spot in the racing pack with one of them and his death affected me deeply. I stopped riding with my regular Saturday morning group and barely felt like racing anymore.

But, I thought the Ride of Silence was an amazing tribute to our fallen friends. Once I was settled here in Dallas, I was eager to participate in this event, especially in the city were it originated.

The first one I rode was the 2007 version. 10 miles around White Rock Lake in silence, hearing nothing but the whir of bicycle wheels on pavement. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I’m a pretty sensitive guy when it comes to things like this and it put a lot of things into perspective. I thought about the instant I heard the news that one of my friends was gone and how we will not be riding together any more. I wondered how many around me had the same thoughts.

photo by Bike Portland

This ride is like no other. There are no funds to raise or training to do. There is no chatting with your buds, no complaining about the hills or the wind. There is no party at the end, no beer, no band, no food. Not a power bar in sight. The somber rolling of a ghost bike through the line-up of riders ends the memorial.

Memorial for Alice Swanson photo by Washington City Paper

Ride of Silence, Dallas Tx photo by Ride of Silence.org

I’ve done the two events since 2007, and came away from both with reflection and feelings of vulnerability. This ride makes you feel that way – before the pack takes off, before the bag piper plays “Amazing Grace”, the announcer who is addressing the gathering tells everyone to look around and note the riders around you. If the statistics on cycling deaths hold true, one of these riders will not be here next year.

I think the Ride of Silence is the most important cycling event you’ll do all year.  Come out to ride with your fellow cyclists and remember those who are no longer with us

– Mark

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