On May 4, 2003, Larry Schwartz was killed by a school bus mirror. Makes you shudder, doesn?t it? Have you been out riding, minding your own business, well on the side of the road, when a school bus passed? Now, I?m sure there are very conscientious school bus drivers who give cyclists plenty of room, but all too many just keep on truckin? perhaps forgetting that their mirrors extend well out on the side and are capable of whacking a cyclist right in the head.
On May 21st, 2003, the first Ride of Silence was held to honor Schwartz and other cyclists killed on the road. The 2003 ride was meant to be a one-time-only event and attracted about 1,000 riders to Dallas. Not so, every year since, both nationally and internationally, on the 3rd Wednesday in May, cyclists convene to ride silently in hopes of fulfilling the stated mission: ?The mission of the world wide Ride of Silence is to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety.? (For more information, go to www.rideofsilence.org.)
This is the first time I have joined this effort. We riders met on the lawn in front of the State House in our capital city, tied on black arm bands, and rode a simple route of 12 miles at 12 mph. It was solemn and it was meaningful. It was also an opportunity to be a part of a larger community.
I had announced the event to Spinning® students as it seemed an excellent opportunity for riders of all levels to participate in an event that would leave no one behind. In fact, for some, committing to the ride sparked the initiative that they needed to segue from the Spinning® studio to the road. Cyclists of all types were represented: mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrids. (Next year we plan to coax our growing community of tandem riders and unicyclists to join in.) Though there was everything from racers to a first-time-on-the-road rider, all were united in the cause.
For several days after, the Ride of Silence was fuel for discussion before each Spinning class. You might want to look into it. Check out your state and your community. Do you already have this event? It?s a wonderful way to pay tribute to those who have been tragically killed or injured while at the same time, hopefully, raising awareness of the general public.
Blog posted by Linda Freeman for www.spinning.com 5/22/2011.s