There Is Silence Tonight

Tonight, there is silence. Neighborhood sounds, the humming air conditioner, dogs barking, silenced. Around town sounds, the buzz of buses and trucks and cars, the dull roar of the interstate, maybe even the announcer as the baseball game, silenced.

Only the whirring of hubs, the rattling of dirty, dry chains will be heard. The looks exchanged will speak volumes, though, and our presence yelled through a megaphone.

Instead of recounting, I just want to share my e-mail exchange with a friend earlier:

Him: “Good morning—I’m having some thoughts about the Ride of Silence. … It’s not all about the people we lost (although it was following David Meek’s death). It’s as much about making people aware that cyclists have a right to safe passage on the roads. I’ve always been impressed by the dramatic range of participants, from racer jocks to ordinary neighborhood people on cheap-o bikes. Basically, it’s about so many things that you (and I) stand for.”

Me: “I had some thoughts about RoS, tonight, too.

I rode in what I believe was Chattanooga’s first RoS in 2009. My lock rattling in my milk crate, outfitted with a red-white-and-blue flag, was the only thing to be heard throughout the ride. It was sad; I heard the news of David Meek’s death just before embarking on my cross-country trip home. His death had a chilling effect on my Dad, who had been a seasonal cyclocommuter up until that happened. They only time I remember riding past David’s ghost bike on Ashland Terrace was during an urban ‘training ride’ I did before the Sequatchie Valley metric.

An aside, I know. It’ll be good.”

“I’m glad.

I’m also tearing up a bit with your description and also realizing how similar you and I are in so many ways, including our conflicted but strong feelings about the ride. Maybe conflicted is how it’s supposed to feel. I don’t know.”

While there is never a limitation to our grieving, it’s time to celebrate our rights.

Tonight, we ride in silence.


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