Southern Arizona cyclists gathered in the East Center parking
lot on Wednesday night for the third annual “Ride of Silence,”
to honor those they have lost to cycling accidents and to raise
awareness for bicycle safety.
“It’s very important for people to share the roads and to know
that we’re out here,” said Santa Cruz Bicycle Advocacy Committee
co-chair Bill Adamson.
Along with fellow cyclist Jim Jordan, Adamson — whose bicycle
also features a Greg LeMond signature — led nearly 40 cyclists
through the Greater Green Valley area.
The setting sun cast a deep shadow over the riders, but spirits
remained high despite the breezy conditions.
Five years ago, the first “Ride of Silence” was organized in
Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the
mirror of a passing bus and killed.
Chris Phelan, a friend of Mr. Schwartz and the person
responsible for starting this initiative, thought the ride was a
However, as word got out, other cyclists began to contact him
with a desire to do the same thing in their own communities.
This past Wednesday, the Ride of Silence began in North America
and rolled across the globe.
Green Valley picked up on the ride after one of their own passed
Nandor “Fred” Hettig died after being struck by a car on March
22, 2006. It was a devastating loss for what has developed into
a tightly knit cycling community.
“Everyone here has been touched by Fred’s story and we’ve all
known people close to us who have been involved in cycling
accidents,” said Green Valley rider Bob Epstein. “We ride to
show that they will never be forgotten.”
Epstein took up cycling 28 years ago as he prepared to compete
in his first triathlon. A runner by trade, Epstein suffered a
number of knee injuries that resulted in a full-time transition
However, those injuries did little to slow Epstein.
“It’s only a flesh wound,” he said, referring to the famous
quote from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Many of the other riders share Epstein’s enthusiasm for cycling,
which has turned this small-scale event into a worldwide
Cyclists will take to the roads at about 300 locations in a
silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or
injured while cycling on public roadways.
The first observance the Ride of Silence in the Santa Cruz
Valley area was held two years ago. Thirty local cyclists
Last year, nearly 80 bike enthusiasts made an appearance.
The goals of the ride are to honor cyclists who have been killed
or injured, raise awareness to the existence of bicyclists and
to ask that cyclists and motorists share the road.
The ride covered a seven-mile loop along Esperanza boulevard, La
Canada drive, Duval Mine road and Abrego drive.
Officers from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Motor Unit,
along with bike unit leader Mike Blevins, provided escort.
Additional information about the ride of silence may be found at