Hundreds of cyclits gathered at Whole Foods Market on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. Why were there? To ride in honor of a fallen cyclist. Chelsea Norman was riding home on her bike from Whole Foods Market a couple days prior. She was struck by a car and died at the hospital. The car drove off and did not render help. To this day, they still haven't found out who killed Chelsea on a hit and run.
My city (like so many...London comes to mind) has become engulfed in a war between cyclists and drivers. Drivers do not realize that cyclists BELONG on the street as per law (although, some states might have specific laws) and they get angry for cyclists "causing traffic" as they like to say. In fact, it's appalling to read comments that Chelsea deserved to get hit for the mere fact that she was riding a bike on the road. And to make matters worse, some cyclists do some messed up stuff and/or not follow the laws, which makes even angrier drivers. No matter what cyclists do, we don't deserve the aggression or hitting or killing that is occuring in my city and cities around the world. I myself have witnessed some aggression by drivers when I'm in the bike path that scares me. Right now, during the Christmas season, the drivers are even more aggressive and angry and hopped up on Christmas present getting cocaine. So, when I see another hit and run story about a girl whom I have never met before in my life, I get sad. It's just an unspeakable and needless act whether you are in a car hitting another driver, cyclist, or a pedestrian.
And that's why we gathered in a controlled environment at the Whole Foods parking on that day at 7 p.m.
They even had a bike safety talk at 6:30, but I didn't get a chance to attend. They also had non-alcoholic cider to warm our bones for this cold ride. Bike Barn had flashing red lights for the cyclists and I even ran into the guy that fixed my bike and taught the bike maintenance class. Also, we had volunteers stationed at all intersections of the bike path handing out flyers to anyone and everyone. It was so great to see them there and to see drivers caring to know what was happening instead of the "I'm going to report you" way.
The plan was to have groups of cyclists, walkers, and rollerskaters/bladers in groups of 30 launching at different times and directions so as not to crowd the streets. Each group would do a four mile loop about 3-4 times, including riding by Chelsea's ghost bike memorial where she was killed. Once again, I joined the Crucial Matter folks, but we all got separated in to different groups. I even saw my friend and fellow skydiver, Caroline.
|Isn't she so cute?|
|Thankfully, Evan was with me in my group.|
|Lining up in the different groups.|
Overall, I had a good time and can really feel myself getting faster just in a week (not quite fast though to consider myself a good cyclist). We had the rollerbladers within our group. Three of them actually kept up with us, which was quite impressive. However, the rest didn't do so well. One of them wiped out pretty bad and did not continue with the ride. Our group leader went a little faster than the entire group could handle and there was very little communication from front to back and back to front. One guy had his go pro light on the helmet and blinded you if you looked back or made you think it was a car coming.
|Which one had the helmet light?|
But eventually, the group started to thin making me the slow one where I rightfully and comfortably belong and our communication got so much better. The best part was stopping at the memorial and taking in what you are seeing.
We did three loops for a total of 12 miles. I was definitely sore the next day. It was a well run bike ride and for a great cause. Plus, Houston Chronicle got a picture of me riding my bike (3rd picture). Thanks to everyone that organized it, helped with it, Whole Foods Market, the volunteers handing out flyers, David for picking me up and hauling me around, and Evan for riding with me. If you would like to donate money to Chelsea's family, click here.
If you are cyclist, driver, runner, speedwalker, please watch the video below. We all need to do our part in sharing the road.
Also, if you missed my post about my first organized fun run, please check it out.
Register for this easy and inexpensive run at https://tix.extremetix.com/Online/?siteID=3627&eventID=44905. Everyone is encouraged to raise funds for their run. A special gift will be given to the top fundraiser. Donate at https://tix.extremetix.com/Online/?siteID=3627&eventID=47038. If you are donating to help a registered runner raise funds, then place their name in the Ticket Holder Name field.
So, please come out and show your support to help our friend called David.