The Ride of Silence is a national event that hosts rides at hundreds of locations worldwide. Cyclists gather for a casual ride, which is carried out in complete silence.
“It was a success,” said Christian Miller of Loose Spokes, who helped organize the local ride this past Wednesday. “The thing is, it’s not just for people who are serious about cycling. It’s for anybody who wants to pay tribute and honor anyone who’s been injured or killed while riding.
“We had a lot of our serious riders out there who we ride with on a weekly basis, but we also had mothers of kids who were injured or killed while riding. They were on cheap little cruiser bikes.
“It’s not a ride for sport or for competition. It’s a ride to pay respect an honor the families who have lost somebody to an accident on the road.”
Participants wore black armbands.
Miller knows many bikers who have been injured while cycling, and said he has been hit “half a dozen times” on a bike.
Wednesday, he rode alongside a woman he didn’t know who clearly wasn’t a serious cyclist.
“It was a silent ride, so I couldn’t ask her what had happened, and I didn’t want to pry,” he said. “Because she was wearing a black armband, I knew she knew somebody personally who was injured or killed while riding. She kept up with us.”
The ride began at Central Park in Spring Lake and followed a casual 7.5-mile course. Riders maintained a leisurely pace of approximately 8-10 mph.
Miller feels that relationships between cyclists and drivers are improving, but there’s still a long ways to go.
“I think there’s more acceptance now, and little events like these here and there make a big difference,” he said. “We just want to share the road. It’s a simple concept, but it’s a difficult one.”
More information about the worldwide Ride of Silence events can be found online at http://www.rideofsilence.org.