Archive for February 5, 2009

Ride of Silence

Posted in In Memoriam on February 5, 2009 by bethleasure

57“I’ve exhausted myself with tears and questions… I find myself looking up. I think because the sky wanders into the biggest realm of the unknown and if I know Nicole is not here, feet on the ground, she’s got to be there. Sleepless and lost, looking up and the most phenomenal thing happened. It wasn’t a shooting star but more like a falling planet, white hot as the moon with a fiery tail and falling straight down to the earth for no less than 4 or 5 seconds until disappearing behind the trees. I looked at my roommate to see if I might have maybe been hallucinating in my pain, but he sat in the same amazement. She famously waved, smiled, and said hello. Nicole is sprinting in the sky. Heaven. I had to share the beauty…”                             

Ryan Kelly processing the loss of pro cyclist, Nicole Reinhart




May is Bike Awareness Month. It includes Bike to Work Day and Ride of Silence. The 58Ride of Silence is an international event which commemorates those killed or injured while riding on public roadways. It’s a somberly-paced ride that encourages participation from all strata of the cyclosphere – hybrid commuter to trials practitioner to professional racer. The ride lasts about an hour and is ridden by the eclectic group slowly in complete silence.


Silence is the great gulf that divides the land of the living from those who’ve passed. This two-wheeled processional is hauntingly beautiful accompanied by its funeral dirge of humming spokes and squeaking brakes. No voices bring words as comforting as silent thoughts that contemplate the eternal bliss of a lost loved one. These encouraging eulogies are meant for the living. There are no more answers from the dead, there are only questions by us forced to consider forces greater than ourselves in realizing our own mortality. As I participate in this event, I choose to think of not just cyclists lost by tragic accidents but all those who’ve hastened across the final finish line before me. Our community has its aged who pedaled to a natural death. It has its remembered who fought disease as valiantly as the competition and finally succumbed after fulfilling some important purpose. It also has its young who’ve gone on too early, it seems to us. It is comforting to turn to my silent companions in the group and smile at their special place beside and beyond for this sacred hour’s ride. 



Prayer for Fallen Cyclists

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies…Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded,
   But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.”
59Psalm 19:1-4



We are thankful for the time we’ve had with those we loved or enjoyed in cycling. We ask forgiveness for all that was left unsaid. We pray for comfort as we grieve and for the families and friends of all beyond the finish line. Ponder Who can I honor with a silent ride? Affirm I am alive for a reason and appreciate what the departed gave. Watch while you can; hear the truth in the silence.





57“Ryan Kelly Part II,” Special Edition News for September 18, 2000 Nicole Reinhart June 3, 1976September 17, 2000


58Ride of Silence organized by Cumberland Valley Cycling Club, Hagerstown, Maryland on May 21, 2008 honored all fallen cyclists and especially acknowledged local resident Lloyd Clarke who was killed just months before on a training ride in Nevada. He is survived by wife and teenage daughter.


59The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Dressing for Success

Posted in Beginings & Endings on February 5, 2009 by bethleasure

11“Talking of fashion faux pas, if you do see a weekend warrior flying along…in full replica world Champ kit…is a huge Non Non…which goes to show what high respect the title hold[s] – you’ve got to earn the right to wear that jersey.”                                                           Nick O’Brien, Pezcyclingnews


Oh those premier days with a new kit. What a fresh proud feeling to wear the new jersey of the season for the first time. Not so much about new chammy which is often stiff and improperly contoured at first – but it’s still cool because clothes make the…cyclist. The proper set of clothes improves one’s outlook and sometimes one’s prospects for a prized place in the sweet spot of the peloton. Jerseys bring respect, inspire intimidation, and can tell your story with just a few visible facts. It’s cycling’s calling card.


The peloton is not all that opens when a prestigious jersey is present. It can make or break contracts, sponsorships, affiliations, and invitations for a lifetime. I’ll never forget what if felt like to pull the national champion jersey over my head during the award ceremony. After hard work and focus believing it could happen, it was still dreamy to be inside the Stars ‘n Stripes. Every nation’s jersey must produce this patriotic thrill to its citizen wearer.


Some team jerseys attract respect; others fear or scorn. Probably there’s some turnover happening in closets outside of ordinary spring cleaning based on recent revelations. Despite this, don’t give up on your heroes or the idea that some exist. Coveted esteemed jerseys are still worn by a few who’ve earned the right through hard work and integrity. Probably it’s good for us to put appearances into perspective. Some amateur in a plain jersey may be a hero to you for off-the-bike achievements or character or way they care for you. One of my favorite 12hosts wears an extra-large Shrek jersey and looks like the happiest grown-up kid you could ever see while cheering race side. Sometimes it’s the cyclist that makes the clothes.


“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” 13Isaiah 61:3


Prayer for Clothing

We ask forgiveness for snobbish attitudes towards others based on outward appearances. We ask for resources for appropriate cycling kit.




Ponder Is what I’m wearing a good representation of who I am? Affirm I can change into white robes of eternal hope. Watch your spirit as well as your primping for a praiseworthy presence.


11“Worlds ’08: The Art of Winning, Italians Do It Best,” by Nick O’Brien Wednesday, February 13, 2008


12Go Michael Foley! One of the Heroes that supports pro cycling through opening his home. Shrek the ogre from the movie Shrek produced by DreamWorks Animation, Directed by Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson 2001.

13The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society