Ride of Silence: Ninth annual ride
set for next week

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Kevin Duke

For the ninth year in a row – Green Valley cyclists will ride to remember.

The Ride of Silence will begin at the East Center May 21, with organizers hoping for at least 100 cyclists for this year's event. Last year's ride was well supported with nearly 80 riders taking part.

The annual free ride, one of hundreds held across the U.S. and internationally, is to honor injured or fallen cyclists, raise awareness to the existence of bicyclists and ask that all share the road.

The ride will progress at a slow and comfortable pace, single file with no talking, for about seven miles through Green Valley.

Green Valley and Sahuarita were affected by a tragic biking accident just last year, when 19-year-old Sahuarita graduate Albert Rich was killed on his bike in Tucson. An average of 20 cyclists are killed each year on Arizona roads.

The Ride of Silence gets started last year
 under the I-19 overpass on Esperanza
Boulevard. This year's ride will begin
May 21 at 6 p.m at the East Center.

 

Dick Baker picks out his wristband prior to the start of last year's Ride of Silence. The ride made an impression on Baker, who will participate again this year for his second ride.


Dick Baker will be riding in his second ride. He hopes the ride does what it's intended to, make motorists more aware that bicycles are with them on the streets.

He's riding because he's had friends that have been hurt while cycling on the road.  "You ride long enough you know somebody that's been hurt," Baker said. "Often it's not that they were hit, but have had a crash."  "But it's never good if you've been hit, chances are that you will be hurt much more severely."

The respectfulness of the ride made an impression on Baker last year.  "Generally when you're riding in a group, often your having a conversation," Baker said. "But in the Ride of Silence your not talking and don't ride side-by-side, but in single file. So it gives you time for reflection."  "Last year was my first year and I thought it was great. Hopefully people understood what it was for."

 


“When you're out their riding there isn't much protection,” he said. “I've been riding for many years and it's amazing to me how often motorists don't see bicyclists.”  “Memorializing those folks who have been injured or hurt, and raising awareness for the public in general is a good thing.”
 
The ride will once again be escorted by the Pima County Sheriff's Department, the Green Valley SAV and the Green Valley Fire District.

 

The cyclists make their way down Abrego Drive during last year's Ride of Silence.

Bill Bohling, who worked for the GVFD for 15 years before he retired, has participated in the ride six of its eight years in Green Valley. He was instrumental in getting GVFD to participate.
“We got involved because we thought it was a good cause and worthwhile,” Bohling said. “We enjoyed riding in it and thought it was important for the fire department to be involved.”
 
The ride is also personal for him, having responded to accidents while with the fire district, and with him and his wife experiencing a loss to a cycling accident.  “Personally, I was familiar with incidents where there was injuries,” he said. “My wife had a colleague at work that was killed in a cycling accident, so that was a pretty significant thing.”
 
Light refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m., with the ride beginning at 6 p.m. Helmets are required for all participants in the ride.
 
Those interested can get more information at the Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocates Committee's website at www.scvbac.org.
 
Kevin Duke | 547-9747