Friday, May 2, 2008

The Memorial Ride

In surf culture, when a waterman turns out of his life’s wave his fellow surfers host what is called a “paddle-out.” When they arrive at the local wave’s line-up, they form a circle in tribute to their lost brother. They pay their respects as much in words as in silence. I’ve seen paddle-outs composed of ring after ring of surfers, perhaps fifty or more boards in concentric ‘O’s to pay their respects. I never fail to get chills when I see it.

As cyclists, we have our own tradition for the fallen, the memorial ride. With no unusual formation to signify our grief, it can be easy for the non-cyclist to mistake the memorial ride as nothing more than another group ride. If they could look with our eyes, they would see something dramatic: a peloton larger than any race, a pace leisurely enough to tell stories of our friend, the family member uncomfortable on a bike shepherded as newcomers never are.

Godspeed to our lost friends.

5 comments:

mathias_d said...

today I saw a "sheldon brown is my co-pilot" sticker today on a news box; it brought me back...his death really was a sad recollection for me this last year.

godspeed sheldon. may you and your family be blessed in existence.

Jared said...

This was a really great memorial ride for one of our fallen comrades. The police department did a wonderful job of keeping it safe and the angry drivers at bay.

It's great to see it recognized on this website.

Bill said...

after having to do another memorial ride only last week i decided that we should instead do a memorial sit down in the street instead. we should all ride to place of the cyclists death and just lay our bikes down in the road and sit next to them. somebody should stand and let oncoming drivers knoe to slow down, when the police arrive we just get up and leave. they've already been there before for the accident so we'ed just rimind them that that is where our friend was killed by an inattentive driver.

Thrash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thrash said...

It was great tribute to the king of the switchbacks - I always knew when I saw Steve jump in by Marineland that there would be a battle coming very soon.

I asked Steve F. as we stood at the summit if he ever thought his litle shop ride he started 25 years ago would have a day like this? What a warm and humbling experience to be part of all the men and women calmly showing their respect to Steve. No anger, no defiance just support for his sons and wife.

Thanks,
Marshall