UPDATE: Because of the possibility of inclement weather, the Wednesday evening ride has been canceled, organizer Bob Krueger announced.
By Bob Steenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLES CITY — Wednesday evening when area bicyclists start a ride to remember fellow bikers who have been injured or killed while riding, they will have an area victim in mind.
The Charles City Ride of Silence will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, at the Charles City High School parking lot.
The ride’s purpose is to honor those who have been killed or injured while riding a bicycle and to raise awareness among motorists and public officials that bicyclists exist and have a right to share the road.
This year’s local ride will be in memory of Bob Philips, a bicyclist from Nashua who was killed last summer while training for that year’s RAGBRAI. It was going to be his first attempt to travel the entire border-to-border route.
The 69-year-old Philips was killed June 8 when the bike he was riding was hit by a pickup truck south of Charles City on county road T64.
The Ride of Silence began in 2003 in Dallas to honor a local endurance cyclist who was killed when he was struck by the mirror of a passing school bus. Within 10 days, emails and word of mouth organized a memorial bike ride that attracted 1,000 bicyclists with the idea that they would ride in complete silence.
Originally intended as a one-time event, the news of the ride quickly spread and prompted similar silent rides in other communities. Within two years the Ride of Silence had spread to more than 120 cities in eight countries.
Today the ride encompasses thousands of riders in hundreds of cities around the globe and is held the third Wednesday of May, during National Bike Month.
Chris Phelan, the founder of the Ride of Silence, said that nearly 1,000 cyclists are killed on average every year.
“We are creating an amazing experience, a moving tribute that brings light to a special shared healing for others, and yourself in the process,” Phelan said. “We must insure the weakest and most vulnerable of all road users are afforded equal protection under the law.”
“I beseech you to come to the free event, show your colors and make a statement with many others,” he said.
The Ride of Silence asks cyclists to go no faster than 12 mph so everyone can keep up, to wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no registration fees — just show up and take part.
For more information call local organizer Bob Krueger at 641-228-7541.