Nearly 20 cyclists, all wearing bike helmets and most similarly clad in yellow neon shirts with the kneeling cyclist logo, gathered at Chandler-Newberger Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to take part in this year’s Ride of Silence. Before we started, some people shared stories about friends who were injured or killed while riding; one person’s story was a personal account of his own accident and how the support of the cycling community meant so much to him and his wife during his recovery. Still recuperating, he was not yet ready to join in this year’s ride.
The silent procession flows at an easy pace to encourage riders of all levels to join. The leader, Dave, moved steadily and deliberately, observing all traffic rules. An important aspect of the ride is to raise awareness of the need to ‘share the road.’ There is safety in numbers: our group was visually distinctive as we rode 11 miles together through northwest Evanston, Skokie and Niles. The ride concluded uneventfully with a whoop of exhilaration at Evanston’s Wheel & Sprocket, who generously provided not only the neon t-shirts but pizza and drinks.
I found out about the ride through The Chainlink.org and the Evanston Bicycle Club. The Ride of Silence is an international event started in 2003 by Chris Phelan in Dallas as a way to honor the memory of a cyclist friend killed on the road. It’s a great cause and free to participate.