Ride of Silence offers exercise for body, rights on road for cyclists

Myra Krieger-Coen

People can put a positive spin on summer by joining the worldwide tribute to cyclists who have undergone harm or fatality from a motor vehicle. Sprouting from Dallas, Texas, Ride of Silence has exploded into a tremendous event that has acquired supporters from over 300 locations across the globe.

In 2003, after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was struck and killed by a bus, Chris Phelan, a friend of Schwartz, organized an event to raise awareness for bikers’ presence on the road and the rights to which they are entitled.

What started out as a one-time bike ride has transformed into an annual, global event. Ride of Silence is hosted at 319 locations around the world, including all 50 states and even spreading across all seven continents with Antarctica joining the ride in 2007, with the help of indoor stationary bikes. Internationally, the event has reached its one-decade milestone, with Ames marking its fifth year of involvement.

In Ames, Ride of Silence is a free, slow-paced bike ride around the city that welcomes the public. No biking experience is required. The event only asks participants to ride slower than 12 mph, wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road — all while remaining silent. The 6 to 9 mile bike ride is an ideal way for people to both exercise their bodies and their rights on the road.

To join the awareness effort tonight, meet behind Skunk River Cycles on Main Street between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Visit Skunk River Cycles’ website for a brief introduction to the event as well a more in-depth description at www.rideofsilence.org.