Ride of Silence

Today was the 3rd Annual Ride of Silence in Philadelphia, sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. It is an event where cyclists worldwide ride in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. I've seen the procession once before have never participated. This was my first time and it was truly awe-inspiring. Those of you who know me well, you know that I'm hardly ever silent - not even when I sleep - I've been told I'm quite the loud snorer. You'd be proud - I kept quiet throughout the entire 8 mile ride in Center City, Old City, University City and back to the Art Museum where the ride began and ended.
The weather was brisk and breezy, and it was more than the wind giving me the chills. Riding with about 300 other cyclists, in complete silence was mind boggling. Major streets were temporarily closed as we proceeded along the route. Since it wasn't rush hour, the traffic sounds and snarls weren't too overt. Buses, pedestrians, even other cyclists stood along the streets, mouths agape, wondering what what the heck this mass bike ride was. The loudest sounds I heard other than the ambient sounds of traffic and building mechanicals were camera phones snapping photos of the riders. Occasionally I over-heard a cellphone conversation while the person walked along in complete oblivion to his or her surroundings. The neatest sound of the ride occurred at a stop between 5th and 6th Street on Spruce. Because the street gets narrow we created a bottleneck of a bicycle traffic jam. The police escort probably also had to stop the cross traffic, and we wre paused for five minutes. As everyone started to peddle again, you could hear gears shifting and the click clap clop of several hundred pairs of bike cleats clicking into their respective bike peddle clips. Kind of like urban horse hooves on city streets.

Here are a few of the photos along the ride. Ghost Bike that led the ride throughout Philadelphia. A Ghost Bike is bike painted white and placed in memoriam to cyclists killed at the location where they died. I spotted one in Brookly during the Bike New York 5 Boro Ride.Child's Ghost Bike, in memoriam, at the Art Museum Steps. The procession of riders as we headed down the Parkway on "Rolling Closed" Streets. I think there were about 300 Cyclists who participated.

Bicycle Traffic along 6th & Spruce Streets. Share the Road.

Riding down Chestnut Street with the Skyline in front of us - Drexel University 33rd & Chestnut.

Heading back towards the Art Museum and to the famous steps, where we raised our bikes for 45 seconds in honor of those riders we lost in the past year, and in victory of our ride.


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