Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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Yesterday an eight year old boy was hit by an SUV while riding his bike with his father and sibling. He is listed in critical condition at the hospital. Cyclists are gathering tonight to do a ride around the neighborhood in solidarity for the family, for the boy, and for all cyclists in the line of fire out there on the road(s).

A ghost bike is locked up just outside the Co-op up the street from my house. This is where James Price was riding his bike when he was struck and killed by a driver who fled the scene last summer.

I ride my bike every day that I can. If the headaches are behaving, if the weather is worth braving. This morning I woke up and took my time gathering my things for work--I packed work clothes, a towel and toiletries into my messenger bag. I layered up and stretched next to the cat. I considered how fortunate I am to commute this way. I pumped the tires on my bike, hoisted the frame over one shoulder and locked up the apartment.

The ride in was beautiful. 40 degrees--chilly and gorgeous, just enough to feel all centimeters of air that fill the lungs. I stood up and climbed the hill into Squirrel Hill. I made small talk with the crossing guards. I dodged potholes as best I could. I double checked my helmet at most stop lights, just to make sure everything was cinched tight.

After work I will ride the same route home in reverse. It will be beautiful, I'm sure.

Today I ride for everyone out there that put 2 wheels in the road. For that little boy and his family, for the woman who struck him. I ride for James Price. I ride for the ghost bikes, which are always covered in flowers, folded notes stuck in the spokes. I ride for those notes. I ride for my father, who taught me to love cycling. I ride for the helmet that saved his life years ago. I ride for all the drivers that know the law, that give us room, that stay out of our lanes. I ride for the love and not for the fear.

There is no poem today. Instead I'll let my two wheels unravel the verse. The ride is the poem.

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