Ride of Silence
May 21, 2008
Today was a ride on two wheels, but back to the human-powered mode. The Ride of Silence was organized in May of 2003 after the death of one of my bicycling partners, Larry Schwartz. Larry was struck and killed by a school bus mirror while cycling on a rural highway northwest of McKinney. Chris Phelan, a friend of Larry, initiated the first ride, which drew 1,000 riders within 10 days of e-mails. The ride is now held annually in over 272 cities, 50 states, and 15 countries. The slow ride is held in silence to honor injured or killed bicyclists.
Today’s event started with the piercing sounds of bag pipes playing “Amazing Grace”. The weather was good and the participants riding very carefully and abiding to the code of silence, which is a very difficult thing for the social creatures bicyclists are. Experiencing so many cyclists riding silently around the winding roads of White Rock Lake is eerie. It gave me time to think back on past rides with Larry, and remembering his persistent grin and relatively simple life style after he retired out of working in technology. After quitting work, he concentrated on riding in many cross-country and ultra-marathon events. He joined our Systeme E team training rides on regular occasion. I think he liked our interval training, which gave him chances to ramp up the effort. He could always shame us with his distance rides, though. I remember he once did the 100-mile Hotter N Hell in Wichita Falls with me, and then after we finished, went out to do it again. And by the way, he rode from Dallas to the event. I miss him very much and I am sure that there were many others in tonight’s ride that have lost fond friends and family.
David, my long-time friend and co-worker rode tonight with me. It was a bit strange that David rolled right up next to me before the start, considering that there were over 1,000 cyclists scattered about. He had no idea where I was and never saw me until he stopped to look around, and there I was just a foot away. Weird.