Friday, July 26, 2013

Ride Report: Together We Travel - Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Tanker and I were privileged on Saturday to take part in an amazing event called Together We Travel - Ride for Angels. This was a free, all-inclusive ride through Uptown Waterloo to promote the safe sharing of the road between motor vehicles and bicycles, and to honour cyclists who had been injured or killed while riding. The organizer, Heather Caron, lost her husband Barrie Conrod to an accident on May 6th, 2012 and put together a memorial ride just one week later in Hawkesville, Ontario as a memorial. Her words strike deeply:

“May 6, 2012 my husband Barrie Conrod was killed by an inattentive driver.  It was a clear day, we could see for miles.  There was no justifiable reason for the crash.  We did everything right that day.  The accident was horrific, catastrophic and it has changed my life forever.  Together We Travel Ride for Angels will serve as a reminder to motorists and cyclists to respect each other and remember those who have been affected.  I hope we can continue to remember and honour until the time comes that we don’t need to promote safety on the roads.  Safety for all.”

We convened at the CIGI campus near Waterloo Town Square for the free registration, and were asked if we knew anyone who had been hurt or killed in a cycling incident - thinking of our friend Jan, against whom we had raced earlier that day at Belwood, we both answered yes and received a red band to be worn on our left arms. It had also been suggested that all riders wear white to emphasize the memorial aspect, but of course I'd managed to forget about that.

Tanker and the sore thumb.

The turnout was amazing for a second year event (first year as Together We Travel), with the majority of riders participating for the first time.

After a pre-ride briefing by the organizers and a great cheer for Kitchener MPP Catherine Fife, who both joined in the ride and intends to advocate for cyclists' rights in Provincial Parliament, we set out for the 3km police-escorted processional ride through the streets of Waterloo.

Our route, per Endomondo.

The pace was leisurely, the day was beautiful, and it was a powerful experience to be part of such an immense line of cyclists.

I seem to have dropped a pack.

Tanker's awesome fighter plane jersey.

We stopped here and there, and got numerous honks and hollers of support from people and vehicles along the way.

Waiting for clearance from the police to proceed.

At least a half-kilometer train of bikes.
Afterward we ended up at Waterloo Town Square for a short closing ceremony, with Heather Caron giving a full account of that fateful afternoon last May. It was a moving experience, and one we shall certainly look to participate in again.

Together we traveled - alone I rode home.

If you live in the Waterloo Region, I strongly recommend watching the Together We Travel website for details about the 2014 ride. As cyclists we must stand together to promote safety on the roads - noone else should have to experience the senseless loss of a loved one!

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