The riders in tonight’s Ride of Silence in Seattle were like velocipede monks, rolling silently from Gasworks, down Eastlake through downtown and Belltown, then finally out Denny back to the park. I didn’t see an official count, but I’d guess there were 200 riders, a sizable crowd but not quite the volume I saw last year. The ride was well organized, with cue sheets, guides at every turn, and incredibly good control over the pacing and grouping of the whole group.
The ride is international with rides in almost every state in the U.S. The point of the ride is to memorialize riders who have been killed or injured on the road, like my friend Matthew Sperry. I try to make the ride every year because Matt was killed doing what I do ever day – riding to work.
I don’t think Matthew would have organized this ride. He would have put together a Jazz Funeral on bikes at the very least. Personally, I struggle with the concept of the ride. The last thing I want to do is be quiet about cyclists being killed. The silence also makes it hard to get the message out. Even though I’m ambivalent about the ride, I’ll keep riding it every year until the Bicycle Wakes get large enough to make an impression on the public at large.