Mountains and palm trees framed the cycling crowd at the start of the Santa Cruz Valley Area Ride of Silence on May 19, in honor of cyclists who have been injured or killed while riding.
The Ride was part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness about bicyclists on the road and ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD. In our valley, we remembered Jerome Featherman, killed on September 3, 2009, and Fred Hettig, killed on March 22, 2006. About 110 cyclists rode a 7-mile route through Green Valley and Sahuarita. Because I work for the Town of Sahuarita, and fully support the her Healthy Living agenda, I rode with Mayor Lynne Skelton. Before the ride, Green Valley Hike and Bike provided snacks to participants and a chance to say hello to old and new friends.
Then Chuck Hill of the Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocacy Committee thanked participants, the Sheriff's Department for escorts, and a trumpeter played Amazing Grace and Taps.
Chuck Hill leads the Ride of Silence.
We rode in silence to the site of Featherman's death, marked by a white ghost bike. We continued in silence through traffic lights, whatever color, protected by the Sherriff's Department. When the Mayor flew downhill and around the corner on her surprisingly speedy hybrid, it looked for a moment like she would rear-end a slow-moving motorcycle cop. Then the motorcycle cop almost rear-ended a Sheriff's car that wasn't supposed to be there. Fortunately, there were no spills.
Except for a couple desents, we rode at a slow and comfortable pace. It was especially slow into the headwind. We finished the ride in lengthening shadows, with local drivers respecting our group, and hopefully, respecting the rights of all cyclists in the future.