Ever since Bill S. wrote about it last week, I had been excited to participate in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) version of “The Ride of Silence”–a worldwide event honoring the many bicycle riders who have been killed while participating in this sport we all love so much. Speaking as a guy who has ridden his bike almost every single day for more than 25 years, I feel very lucky to have never collided with a car, aside from one “dooring” incident. And speaking as a guy who has taken quite a few spills (mostly in the winter) and even had a recent bike-related emergency room visit, I appreciate almost every day that I am still alive. So, a ride of this nature has significant meaning. I’m not trying to be macabre or anything, but really, we cyclists are always at risk of becoming roadkill and never more so than when we least expect it. A cyclist can never win a battle with a moving vehicle.
So, yes, the Ride of Silence has a great purpose. Plus, a ride like this should be right up my alley. I am not a social rider. I ride alone. Therefore, as organized bike rides go, I figured a little jaunt in which nobody utters a single word would be the closest possible thing to riding alone. Great! My only worry was that it might feel weird riding in what I envisioned to be a very quiet, 8-mile funeral procession.
In an attempt to shorten a long story, I didn’t make it to the official Ride of Silence. As I was getting ready for the 25-mile drive to the event in the suburb of Eagan, we got a call from my daughter. She was stranded at work because the brakes went out on her 1999 Mazda. Being that The Feeshko and I only have one car, it was not an option to send The Feeshko up to get our daughter while I drove in the other direction to the Ride of Silence. So we rescued our daughter. (Isn’t it ironic that a CAR ruined my chance to participate in an event that honors cyclists who have been killed by a CAR?)
The good news is that this morning I thought up an idea to make up for missing the official Ride of Silence. I decided to go out on my own personal Ride of Silence. The difference between my own personal Ride of Silence and one of my regular daily bike rides would be that I would think about the fallen riders while I pedaled. And that’s what I did. Really, I did! And I didn’t need an official ride to do that any more than I need to be in a church congregation to think about the meaning of life.