5:45: A crowd of cyclist had started to form at Green Square Park in downtown Cedar Rapids. As we were waiting for the 6 o’clock hour many of us were introducing ourselves or catching up with friends who were joining them for the ride. We were joined by Don and his daughter Amanda who wanted to attend the event but were not going to ride that day. Don and Amanda had lost Penny a mother and wife when a car struck both her and Don on a road in Buchanan County on Aug 31st 2008. The road and weather conditions were determined not to be a factor in the collision. The authorities believe that the driver just did not see the couple riding on the road. According to Don, no charges have been brought to the motorist.
We got started at 6 pm with going over the route of the ride and the markings I put out earlier in the afternoon. Most of the riders attending the event were seasoned cyclist who belonged to the Hawkeye Bicycle Association. A wonderful group of cyclist who help promote biking in Cedar Rapids through open rides and racing events. Before I made a quick speech I touched ever so briefly the rules of the road and then introduced Amanda who gave a short message.
Amanda introduced herself along with her father Don and told the audience why she was there. She told the crowd about Penny and how she love to cycle and to be careful tonight while cycling so that you make it home each and every time you go out. It was a short speech but as I was talking to fellow riders during and after the ride, they were moved by Don and Amanda coming for the ride. By Don and Amanda’s attendance it put a family’s face and the morning of their loss to the reason of why we were there. And I hope in some way we gave comfort to them and let them know that they are not alone.
The following was a short speech I made:
As we participate in the Ride of Silence today we are riding in support of our brothering cyclist, family members and friends that have died on our public roads while doing what they love, cycling. Each person we have lost left behind family members and friends that greave and misses them deeply. We ride today to also support of the people left behind by the death of a loved one. For where we may live in their memory for a special day or two, their family members live each day with an empty place in their hearts where their loved ones once filled.
We also ride in support of the each cyclist injured on the public roadway. For some injuries that have been sustained may have left some bruised and scrapes while others with permeate reminders of the accident that may have claimed their arm, a leg, or their memories. And let us not forget the loved ones who support, care and rehabilitate those who have lived through the accident but suffers greatly. They are the ones who need our shoulders to cry on when times get tough and answers don’t come easy.
And like all good people let us take a moment to name in our hearts those who we loved and lost as well as support through the tough times of tragedy.
Bless all the cyclist who have fallen, the ones who support, and the ones who ride this day. May we all return to our loved ones tonight and very night thereafter.
We lined up as a group on 3rd avenue and after the light turned green, proceeded down the street to our first turn. Since the ride was taking place at 6pm the rush hour traffic had just about wound down with a few pockets of heavy traffic. As we made our way through the city we were met by motorist who would wave us through 4 way stops as well as being very patient in when they would over take us. I was very thankful and impressed by the kind acts of our motorist in our city. We wound down to Center Point rd and made our way back. The traffic was thinning and the silence once again grew to only the sound of the bikes clicking and the noise of the tires roiling over pavement.
7:10: We made it back to Green Square Park once again all safe and without incident. The group hung out and recapped the ride and past stories of rides that fit the event of the evening. We congratulated each other for the ride and talked about the next years ride and how it could be improved.
I must thank everyone who came out for the ride It meant a lot of me to see that many people passionate about cycling as I am. I hope it was helpful to Don and Amanda to see a group that understands and is sympatric to their loss. I also hope they drew comfort in knowing that a group like that is always there to support them and to keep fighting for the rights of cyclist though legislation and education.