Thoughts on the Ride of Silence
It felt reverent. There were more than a hundred bikes of all kinds: little kids in trailers, a dog in the basket of a giant tricycle, kids pumping their single speeds, college-aged kids, couples on bikes built for two, and grandparents. All kinds of riders came out, from the serious sport cyclists, bicycle commuters, and people like me pedaling along on hand-me-down bikes.
Some of the more confident cyclists were designated to block the intersections, guarding the way for the rest of us to safely pass. Police bikes escorted us and a police car was our rearguard.
It was quiet. The ride had all the dignity of an old fashioned processional. It was as solemn as a line of cars leading to the gravesite. But we were not hidden, sheltered in the privacy cars; we were out, exposed in both senses: we feel everything, the wind and the cold, and we are seen, visible to all we pass.
It was community. We were mourning with the family in their mourning. We were thinking about our own mortality as we rode the same roads Mr. Douglas Crow rode. We were together, respectful of the family, honoring the fallen man, and pleading silently to everyone who saw us as a group to see us when we ride alone.
The sounds we passed felt significant in our silence: the striking of the hours of the courthouse clock, the clanging of the arms that heralded the coming of the train. And then as we turned back to home, the moon rose over the mountains, full bright with mellow light.
I rode, quiet in my thoughts. And I felt overwhelmed with love and awe for all who rode with me. And I hope that all who saw us marveled.