Anatomy of Placing Another Ghost Bike

As someone who writes to share the news, you would expect a quick response to any of my undertakings.

Last Friday night, I took part in my second placing of a ghost bike in the San Fernando Valley.

Instead of immediately giving a step by step account of the evening’s proceedings, I started off the week with a couple of fun pieces about the Tour of California.

Yes, those were timely in the way that the race had just ended Sunday, but also served a purpose in releasing some steam. I’ll tell you why.

Let me first take you back to last Wednesday night. This was the first Ride of Silence I’ve led and I was balancing the anxiety over whether there was a good showing versus having too many people to control.



Ride of Silence last Wednesday Night.

While I was fortunate to hit my ideal mark of a hundred cyclists, I still couldn’t focus on the memorial aspect of the event because my main concern was having everyone complete the ride safely.

A few of us headed over to Pitfire Pizza to eat and wind down, but I was pretty exhausted from all the planning.

The next morning, I had to get up at 4:30 for a procedure for my daughter which caused anxiety on top of the anxiety that I was going to get very little sleep. I ended up dozing from 11:30pm to 2:30am.

Since I was up and early, I headed over to the local AM/PM for coffee, where I’ve stricken up a relationship with the guy behind the counter.



There were already flowers placed at the site.

Ever since I placed the ghost bike of Cairo Castenada in early April, I’ve been sleeping less and eating more. Now coffee to help transition me into the day has become necessary.

When we left the house at 5:15am, I was in a good mood because somehow my daughter was in a good mood too young to know we were headed to the hospital.

I stayed away from my phone as my daughter became aware that something was going to happen. When they took her away, I flipped open my laptop to catch up on work emails. I wandered over briefly to Facebook and saw a blurb about a cyclist being killed in Panorama City.

If this is a sign of where I am right now, I totally dismissed this news.

I thought it was just not possible something like this happened so soon.


Danny shows up with his tools and the ghost bike.

Earlier in the week, I saw a post from one of my friends that he was heading to the hospital for a few days. When I emailed him if he was going to be alright, he said that was from three years ago.

The Panorama City cyclist must be that too.

My daughter woke from her procedure and after placing her grumpily in our car, I grabbed my bike off the rack and headed down Wilshire to work.



Kat lights the candles.

When I logged into my computer, at some point I casually wondered over to Facebook where that little globe in the upper right hand corner was highly populated. A number of people had referenced the cyclist being killed and after reading through some of the articles, it started to sink in as fact.

The emails started bouncing off of me and Danny Gamboa about placing another ghost bike. I was both physically and mentally exhausted, really not knowing if I had the energy for this, but I knew I should be a part of this again.

We arranged to meet up on the following night(Friday) and I was the first to show up. I had contacted the same KTLA news reporter that came to the Ride of Silence and she sent a cameraman who was packing up as we arrived.



Danny speaks to KTLA News.

He thought that the ceremony was supposed to be earlier and when he got here, he had seen some people place some candles and decided not to shoot it out of respect.

I had a long time to talk to the cameraman, pointing out the laws of the road, the poor conditions on Woodman and how KNBC botched their piece calling this an accident.

While Woodman is a major thoroughfare, this section is highly residential. Parking is scarce, yet the street is wide. I pointed out to everyone that one crack that runs down the middle of the lane that puts cyclists in that awkward choice of biking in the door zone or too close to the center lane.

Carrie Ungerman from LACBC and John Morlock of Ride2Recovery then showed who I had both just seen at the Ride of Silence. They were concerned, angry and somber all at the same time.



Kat is joined by John Morlock and Carrie Ungerman.

Danny Gamboa then rolled up and immediately we went to work on the ghost bike. We sprayed it down, locked it up and took a few moments.

There are few facts about what happened, we still don’t know who the cyclist was and there was little we could do.

A few people came out of their apartments to see what we were doing, but this was a pretty quiet scene.


The cameraman left and I never saw a piece about this on the news. There was no mention about this death from local Councilmember Nury Martinez’s office, nor any press coverage the days following.

It was as if there was no sign that any of this ever happened, except for the ghost bike itself.

As for me, I still have that level of malaise dealing with this, but know that it’s present reminds me that work still has to be done. Let’s just hope it’ll be much longer before something like this happens again.