I took part in something amazing and life changing tonight.
I did my ride, had been about an hour in, the weather’s changing, I’ve felt some hail. but something eles is going on. I’m on the booty loop, and cops are stationed at every major turn of the loop and especially at the top of hopedale blocking vehicular traffic off from the right turn lane onto Selwyn. It’s nearing 7PM and I’m kind of at the point where I could turn in or, if I find a good group, I’d ride with them for a while. I’m on selwyn, and I see a group. I speed up to catch them. holy shit. this isn’t just a group. this is thousands of cyclists. No one is talking. I pull alongside a guy and say “is this spontaneous?”. “It’s a Ride of Silence”. After about a minute I quietly ask “who’s it for”. He says “all the cyclists that have been killed. We do 3 laps. It’s once a year”. I don’t need to ask any more questions.
I found my group. no way I’m going to miss this. after about a minute, the sky just OPENS up. not lightly. full on rain. Everybody is quiet. no headphones. no discussion. No one is complaining that their bike is getting wet. just riding. Cops are blocking traffic for us. People are pointing out obstacles in the road, everyone is respectful, unified. We have spectators along queens road west. The rain comes and goes based on our location. Coming up queens road west then cresting the hill, you could see that it was raining ahead at the intersection of Kings/east/queens road west. I smiled. I wanted to reach the rain.
We’re out there for about half an hour. I think. I was kind of in a trance at the power of this group. then before I know it, it’s over. I didn’t want it to end. On the last loop I had made it up somewhat near the front and could see the front of the pack maybe 25 yards ahead. nobody passing, just one group together. In this cause together. We all turn off to the right down Ratcliffe. People slowly start talking. “you going back to the house?” “hey, good to see you”. The herd has thinned now. Some people left when the sky opened, some turned off to go home or to their car. I followed the crowd back to the parking lot of Myers Park Traditional. I didn’t want to leave these people. It had stopped raining. I clipped back in and went down Ratcliffe again towards queens road west, and boom, the sky opens again. I turn left onto QRW heading back to my place and luckily the road is empty for now. the rain’s coming down crazy hard. I reach a downhill part and slow down b/c I think I may hydroplane. I make it back. I’m not in a huge rush to get the door open and my bike or me in, because all of it/me is fully saturated.
I can’t beleive I didn’t know about this event. I hope to take part in it again and again.