Always the 3rd Wednesday in May, this was the 10th year of the Ride of Silence ( http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php ) a tribute/memorial to cyclists killed while riding the roads the world over. When Roger, our club president asked me for info on how to get permission from the police dept for the ride, I passed along the name and number of our contact, and shared with him the magic words to use when he called, "same as last year" that would grease the slow wheels of gov't. Roger confirmed last night that once he uttered that powerful phrase, all details fell into place without mishap. They love precedent down at City Hall.
Max suggested that we RIDE our bikes over and back, and posted Chain Reaction Cycles as a rally point. I thought it might be just him and me, but then Ray said he was in, followed by the two Roberts. A new guy, Michael, and Jonathan who has been doing the Tuesday/Thursday rides with us also came. Then Chad from the shop came over as well, leaving us a man short of a genuine "Fellowship of The Ring." Also, no one had an axe, or a bow, or a big horn to sound when orcs appeared.
The ride over was fine and we had a bit of a spanker breeze for most of it. About half way there, Legolas, err I mean Chad, got tired of lallygagging along at 17 - 19 and took off in the 20s. Followed by Robert B, Jonathan, Ray, in fact everyone but Max, Robert A and me. We were okay with standing tall (or sitting as the case may be) for the "slow bicycle movement." Everyone arrived on location in downtown Montgomery on time and exchanged greetings with the rest of the 2 dozen who turned out. Michael Briddell from the mayor's office spoke briefly and encouraged us to continue to invite new riders, as part of the city's overall effort to improve health and lower obesity rates. Here's a picture of Michael and bike club president Roger Burnett.
The biggest drawback with the ride is ALWAYS the police escorts that the city requires us to have. Two motorcycle cops closing the intersections so we don't have to stop with their sirens on loudly at all times. Not very silent. Of course, the riders are quiet and somber, wearing black armbands. Roger sent us off with a brief non denominational prayer. It was good to see a few people not encountered on the roads lately. David O, Jeff F (now rocking a bottom bracket generator on his Berthoud. His rando bag is visible in the picture above), John and Kathy R, Therese C and her friend-whose-name-I-forget, Bilee and Patty and some others. There were regulars as well who pedaled over from home, like Tim H and Robert and Bonnie T. Chad asked me if my wheels were 26" or 650. 650B, and I was pleased that he noticed. Chad also did not look at me all googly eyed when I talked about running 38mm tires at 60 psi. He said he understood low pressure and saw a real use for it. Ride on!
We got a little strung out along the route, but everyone made it fine. Thanks to Robert B for the pictures.
And here is a group shot with most of the riders at the end. As you can see, Jeff is trying to go incognito by eschewing biking clothes. I am wearing my club (not wool!) jersey for the one time I do it each year.
We chitchatted very briefly afterwards and then saddled up to head back. We all had lighting, but daylight rides are generally safer and we wanted to avail ourselves of the limited amount remaining in the day. Of course we had a headwind now, but I expected that to diminish as the sun dropped lower in the sky, which is what happened. As we were leaving downtown, we saw Joe M and Ellen heading to dinner and exchanged shouted greetings. At least I hope that was Ellen he was with. :)
Once again, a few people jumped out in front as we went north towards the river, but we regrouped at the Northern Blvd traffic light. We were along the right curb waiting for the signal and a decrepit small pickup truck pulled next to us, just ideal to trigger the magnetic road sensor. Its windows were down and the sweet smell of a Havatampa Jewel cigar wafted our way. I used to smoke those things in my Army days. Yuck. The driver did not look our way once. When the light changed, he hit the gas and took off across the intersection. Not all of his load made it however:
He realized this half way through the very busy intersection and pulled to a stop on the other side. Max or Robert yelled to him from the front of our group, "You need some help?". The driver now acknowledged our presence and was pleased to have some assistance with 4 x 4 lumber, metal siding sheets and a spare tire. We put our bikes on the traffic signal island and carefully made our way out to help. Well, 5 of us did. You can see 2 "guarding" the bikes in the background below and Chad hung around back at the ride. I don't know that he came back our way.
In a few minutes, he was able to CAREFULLY drive off. Once the air calmed, we made really good time back to the cars. The temps were perfect and the company grand. I pray that all of us are here next year to ride (as in still healthy and uninjured) and are joined by a larger crowd.