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Around 30 people came together Wednesday night at Ashley Pond in order to honor cyclists injured or killed in accidents on the road through an event called the Ride of Silence.
Lily Cohen, a recent addition to the Los Alamos community whose close friend was killed during a cross-country cycling trip, organized the event. Khalil Spencer helped spread the word, turning Cohen’s efforts into a successful, emotional event.
As cyclists began arriving before the scheduled 6:30 p.m. event time, Cohen handed out black armbands and spoke a few words about the reason she organized this event.
“I was inspired to organize this event by my friend Paige who was killed while cycling across the country. Remembering Paige and her indescribable energy is what gave me the courage to take a risk and move out to Los Alamos. She inspires me to be ridiculous every day,” Cohen said.
After reciting a “Ride of Silence” poem, Cohen invited other riders to share their motivation for participating in the event. Members of the Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club of Los Alamos spoke up about their loss, Rob Oakes, a founding member of the club who died recently as a result of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.
In remembering Oakes, the members had kind, heartwarming words. Current president of the club Kristin Pederson remembered how 12 years ago, Oakes had taught her how to mountain bike.
“We’re riding in honor of all the people that were killed,” she said, pointing out a picture of Rob Oakes taped to her backpack. Multiple members of the Tuffs sported the same picture, with the caption “In Memory Of…” resting above it.
The ride began at Ashley Pond, through Canyon Drive and Diamond Drive, and used the roundabout as a turning around point, for a total of seven miles.
Though this event has been in the works for a few months, it only took two weeks to put together, and led to a strong outcome from the community. “I was glad I organized the ride because it gave more people than I expected the chance to remember and honor cyclists they loved,” Cohen said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, 630 cyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles. The Ride of Silence is a national organization that aims to honor cyclists that were injured and killed on the roads, bring awareness to the fact that they are still out there, and encourage everybody to be comfortable with properly sharing the road.
The organization hopes that by bringing awareness, they can reduce the number of cycling-related deaths.
By Ada Ciuca