Last night was difficult, but it was a big, first step in the healing process.
The Tri-Cities group came together as a community. There were over 100 riders, many of whom had been on the Tuesday ride and witnessed the tragic events occur. Others, like myself, were not there, but felt emotionally connected with the events. We are all wounded.
Here is an article from the local newspaper about the tragedy and last night’s tribute.
Before our Tribute ride, Tim Malson of Summit Cycles said some encouraging words, although there’s not much that can be said after such an event. Jack Daniel followed, and had us sing the first verse of Amazing Grace, followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
We rolled out with Cayce police as our escort. We cannot thank them enough for allowing us to mourn without worrying about traffic. It was a quiet ride. We all pedaled easily, slowly, thinking of the memory of Ed and of our community. The only words spoken were to point out dangerous road obstacles, like a section of glass, but most were absolutely silent. We looped around the nearby streets, far away from where the accident occurred.
Just a few weeks ago, we had a similar ride. The annual Ride of Silence was somber, but we hardly expected to be riding it again so soon. This ride of silent was a lot more powerful because the wounds are still fresh.
The most important part of last night was the community. We all talked, before and after the ride, and some of us had dinner and drinks. I spoke with a lot of people who had witnessed the events. As I mentioned in my last post, this was not a pleasant scene. One rider told me that he has replayed the image of Ed’s last moments 1,000 times in his head. Other riders felt guilty for continuing to ride. They shouldn’t. The last thing we needed was 70 people at the scene of a gruesome accident. That would have traumatized the community further. The right people were there to do what was necessary, but there was really not much anybody could have done.
I spoke with Charlie a good bit. He was the other rider in the accident. When Ed clipped the tire in front of him, Charlie, riding immediately behind, had no choice than to go down. He suffered a concusion, spent the night in the hospital, and has some nasty road rash. Fortunately there were no broken bones. He will be off the bike for a couple weeks, but he will be back stronger than ever.
Because of the concussion, Charlie has no memory of the incident, and never really understood what had happened until the next day. At first, he thought that it was his mistake that caused the accident. He has since been reassured. He was just a bystander, at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The events have given us a wake-up call. Riding is our hobby, and we often forget the danger that we can put ourselves in. We will cherish these rides from here on out, and will work vigilantly to ensure the safety of ourselves and the other riders.