Tonight I did a special ride. It was my second year to participate in it, and very different from my first year. My first year I showed up late and rode by myself. Tonight I rode as part of a community. Being part of a community is such a soulful feeling, because it was the one thing I most longed for as a kid. We moved, a lot. Being part of a community at 47 is probably my favorite thing. When I talk to kids I say, “you are a part of everyone.” It is part of the welcome and acceptance we support at my school, and what I wish everyone felt.
Tonight I got to experience that; I am a part of everyone. Not isolated or different or exceptional in some way, just a part. It’s the blessing of the bicycle community in Charlotte. We are all so different. There are very wealthy riders who have bikes that cost as much as some folks pay for cars. There are the social riders, who just enjoy a good bike ride, there are the mountain bikers, who would like to be roughed up a bit, there are the tricksters, who can take a piece of metal and do almost anything with it. And then there’s me, the daily commuter, not always dressed appropriately, and obviously not clipped in.
Tonight we all rode together on the Ride of Silence. We rode for the cyclists that have been hit by cars this year (some no longer with us). I was riding for a child who was hit two weeks ago on the way to the park, who died. I was also riding for my fellow commuter David Spranger, though I kept that part to myself. I was riding for him because I was hit by a car after David, but because of his injuries, it took him such a long time to ride again after his accident. He was there and rode his bike tonight. His wife embroidered him the most beautiful shirt that said. “Peace, Love and Bicycles.” We all rode together, on different bicycles, in different clothes, with different financial situations and political views. But we rode together.
One of my favorite parts of tonight’s ride was a group of men from the Spoke Easy who came, out of nowhere really, to ride with us and protect our group. They rode in street clothes, on all manner of cycle and without helmets. They stopped traffic at intersections to allow safe passage. When I thought of it after, I thought that everyone of those guys,with all different beliefs and with probably some athiests among them, did exactly what Jesus would do, if you follow the actual teachings of the human, and not all the crazy baggage he’s gotten from people over the years. They were more interested in protecting others than themselves. They protected everyone…no questions, no judgements, no conditions. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve witnessed a lot.
In the end I believe that being a part of everyone, which is almost always overlooked, is one of life’s best gifts. That is what i felt this evening, with the lycrad, the street clothed, and the folks in gingham shorts and flip flops. Part of everyone and loved for however you show up to ride.