It was one week ago that I thought about the upcoming International Ride of Silence. I have attended a couple in Rockville, Maryland, and was at one in Dayton, Ohio. But I thought we should have something in Virginia.
I checked the website and only saw a ride at Radford. Nothing in northern Va. Nothing in Richmond or Roanoke. Nothing in Virginia Beach. Wow.
I decided to organize one. With little publicity we had six riders come out to our FIRST Ride of Silence. I wasn’t a novice at organizing rides. Nine years ago I had organized a “Tribute Ride.”
We met at C.D. Hylton High School. I chose this location because it is the site where Joseph James Callahan was killed in September 2013. He was riding on the bike trail in front of the school when a 17-year-old girl drove off the road, struck, and killed him. We rode for Joseph Callahan.
I also bought new flags for his makeshift memorial. The school has let it remain on the property for eight years and I’m afraid without maintenance they may remove it.
The program was simple. We wore black armbands in honor and memory of those who have lost their lives to drivers. We wore red if we have been struck by a vehicle. Half our riders wore red. Read that again.
I opened the “program” with remarks about the Ride of Silence. I spoke about Joseph Callahan and then about Jamie Roberts. We opened our circle to recognize anybody. Chelsea Johnson led us in The Ride of Silence poem.
Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us,
friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Chelsea was with Jamie when she was killed in Kentucky in 2014. Chelsea spoke about how Jamie lived!
At 7:00 p.m. we rolled out. The route was simple – an 11-mile counterclockwise route of Spriggs Road (bike path), Hoadly Road (shoulder), Dumfries Road (bike path), Minnieville Road (bike path), and back to Spriggs Road.
After the event riders were invited to Armetta’s for a post-ride celebration and reflection. This will be the first and many rides to come.