I love being on a bike.
Whether it’s commuting, climbing mountains or riding along with my family, the time I spend on a bike enriches my life.
With all the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s amazing to have this gift right in front of me heightening the experience of living in such a great place like Los Angeles.
It’s fulfilling to be inspired by joy, but there is always a sense of guilt.
Sadly, there are consequences traveling around in this environment.
We live in a place where speeds are prioritized over safety.
Lives are lost and communities get torn apart.
Society drawing a blind eye to these catastrophes has turned into a very simple exercise as generations have cultivated this culture.
Last year’s Ride of Silence in North Hollywood
As an advocate, I have an obligation to stand against it no matter how efficient my efforts are.
In 2015, I went to my first Ride of Silence in Pasadena not even knowing much about the event itself.
With about a hundred riders in tow, riding together in complete silence was abstract, yet powerful experience.
Learning that there were hundreds of these rides taking place worldwide, but no other ride in a county of ten million, I knew I had to do more.
Not knowing how to organize one was a good excuse, but a cyclist killed near my house a year later put my plans into motion.
Ghost Bike placement for Cairo Castaneda in April 2016
I organized a seven mile loop for Ride of Silence out of the Valley that went by Cairo Castaneda’s ghost bike and kept the ride going with 80 – 100 participants every year.
My intention was to organize another this year again through my work at LACBC, but resigning three weeks ago changed my preparations.
While I have no means from stepping back from this community, it was an exit that had to be made based on principal.
Leaving this void left a lot of loose ends where my next steps would take me.
Unfortunately, sometimes your direction will be dictated to you.
In the past month, I’ve had to place two ghost bikes in the Valley which is about half as many as normally happens in a year.
Ghost Bike placement in Sun Valley for Sammy Hernandez
Attendance varies, but both of these ceremonies had a strong outpouring of love from friends and family.
On one hand, it’s comforting to learn about these people and the impact they had on others, but handling all this emotion can be unnerving.
Having placed about a dozen of these bikes so far, seeing a different group of people suffering from the same tragedy makes you feel both angered and helpless at the same time.
So without much preparations or reasoning, I knew I had to organize another ride no matter who would know about it.
This time, I figured to hold it at a location more centrally located and transit friendly as many people found it difficult to make it out to the Valley.
Just designing a route alone in this city where a number of people are expected to ride together without the means of talking is a lot harder than you think.
Once again though, the rationale isn’t as important as being part of this community itself.
Please join this Wednesday night out of the Vermont / Wilshire Metro Station as we make our way out to City Hall.
The ceremony will begin at 6:30pm and we’ll roll at 7pm down Wilshire into DTLA.
If you can’t make this ride, please consider one of the many others taking place across the southland.
You may not know exactly why you’ll be there, but you’ll feel fulfilled doing it.