October 17th Ride and Activities

I Ride a Bicycle For __________ . (You fill in the blank...for example: 'For Exercise,’ or ‘To Reduce the Carbon Footprint'

A participatory celebration of the life of Sylvia Bingham, killed on September 15, 2009 in a traffic incident while riding her bike to work as a VISTA volunteer.

Sylvia's Cleveland friends invite area cylists and non-cyclists alike to remember Sylvia's commitment to making her adopted home a better place. This participatory remembrance will include cycling, serving the community, and thoughtful discussion of what more we can do -- individually and collectively -- to improve bicycle and street safety awareness here.

Saturday, October 17th 2009
10am to 4pm
Edgewater State Park beach (lower pavilion)
Wear A White T-Shirt (or get a Ride for Sylvia T-Shirt at Edgewater)

Rides of 5 to 25 miles will visit local community events where participants can participate in bicycle safety education classes, environmental remediation projects, and other community services; then return to Edgewater for food, fellowship, and an inclusive discussion of future plans.

Rides will be led by experienced cyclists, and maps will be provided, but will be over open roads in normal city traffic. All riders are expected to obey all traffic laws; a mechanical bike safety check and traffic law briefing will be held at the start. Please dress appropriately for the weather, and helmets are required for the ride: a limited amount will be available for $20 each at the start.

Non-cyclists are welcome to join the community-service activities at any of the ride destinations, and gather back at Edgewater at 3pm.

A free-will donation to the Sylvia Bingham fund is appreciated, and pot-luck dishes are welcome.


We Need Your Input!

Help direct our energy by sharing your stories: Please help Sylvia's friends plan the best way to continue to honor her life -- and create some positive result from her tragic death -- by leaving a comment to this post on what you hope for in the future of cycling in Cleveland. Feel free post a story about a cycling experience you've had that could have benefited from new project or policy to make cycling safer and more enjoyable in Cleveland. Momentum has been growing recently -- even before Sylvia's tragic accident -- among local bike-advocacy, sustainability, livability, and environmental groups for making changes to make Cleveland more "bicycle friendly." Your input here will help Sylvia's friends plan the October 17th event in her memory and direct that momentum toward meaningful policies to make cycling safer and easier here.

Flier from the ride

Below is the handout Jim supplied at last week's ride. There are many dates to note and some things we can do immediately for bike advocacy in Cleveland. Many thanks to Jim.


Ways we can continue to honor Sylvia’s memory, and help build momentum for better biking conditions:

Join us for the next event for Sylvia on Saturday, October 17, 2009.

There are many factors that contribute to any road collision, no matter who is legally "at fault." One of these factors is surely the evolution of a society in which traffic deaths are accepted as unavoidable "accidents." Whenever a collision results in this kind of tragedy, we are compelled to ask ourselves if we can change some of those factors in the customs and attitudes and laws we adopt, and how we build and use the public roads.

Sylvia's death, and those of so many other cyclists here in just the past few years, should not be accepted with societal equanimity. No unnatural death should be, but traffic fatalities are unlike, for instance, workplace falls: they are something we all, as users of the public roads, have some hand in preventing. We all have an effect on the other traffic around us whenever we use the roads, and, thankfully, we all have a voice in the process of making the rules that govern us -- when we choose to raise that voice. At this next event on Oct. 17th we’ll be addressing ways to channel our energy to help prevent more tragedies like this one. There are also several other upcoming opportunities to raise your voice for change, or simply to be the change you want to see; just by riding your bike. Fri. & Sat., Sept 25 & 26 ~~ The Bridge Project, This happening will include a bike lane stripped across the lower level of the Vet’s bridge (with a Conference Bike riding back and forth!). clevelandbridgeproject.com/ Winning permanent bike access to this space is a long-time dream of advocates here. After the stupidly-diluted “improvements” to the upper level of the bridge (recently the scene of another cyclist’s death), this ambitious goal would be especially laudable.

Wed. Sept 30 ~~ Ohio City Bicycle Co-op Winter cycling symposium and members' meeting

Thurs. Oct 1 ~~ "The Bike Rack" Cleveland Public Art will have an event to present the winner of a competition for public art at the proposed Bike Station. clevelandpublicart.org/events/the-bike-rack Sat.Oct. 10 ~~ Ohio City Bicycle Co-op Intro to Traffic Skills classFree if you wear your “I ride for Sylvia” Tshirt! OhioCityCycles.org

Sat. Oct. 17 ~~ “I Ride for ________. iridefor.blogspot.com

Sat. Oct. 24 ~~ Ohio City Bicycle Co-op Ghost Ride! Costumed night ride and party. OhioCityCycles.org Tues. Nov. 3 ~~ VOTE! Anytime soon ~~ Write to thank Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich for voting against the recent amendment excluding bike/ped funding from the upcoming federal transportation bill. capwiz.com/lab/home/

Anytime soon ~~ Write to the Ohio Dept. of Transportation, which has excluded access to cyclists and pedestrians on the proposed Innerbelt Bridge, despite strong public support. craig.hebebrand@dot.state.oh.us

Every time you ride in traffic ~~ Please remember you are an advocate for us all. Please ride safely, courteously, and as often as you can.


We Ride for Sylvia

I Ride For Sylvia memorial ride on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.



These are our shirts. The design, inspired by Sylvia's idea, was a collaborative effort by her friends. On Monday night, Ayla and Alex went to the Oberlin College Silkscreen Studio to print shirts for Tuesday's ride. Thanks to guidance and help from Asa, a senior at Oberlin, they were able to print 200 shirts by hand. Above is Alex holding a freshly printed shirt in the studio and two bikers at Sylvia's house before the ride. We will be printing more "I Ride For" shirts for the next ride on October 17th so be sure to let us know if you would like one. We ride for Sylvia.


What a beautiful morning....

So we've had a little time to come down from the emotional high of this morning's silent ride, and I can't help but feel proud of us all. The ride went as perfectly as anyone ever could've imagined.
It was a beautiful thing.

We've estimated that approximately 150 cyclists--including one particularly inspiring handcyclist--came out to honor Sylvia's life; truly an impressive showing.

If anybody who participated in the ride would like to share a reaction with the rest of the "I RIDE FOR" community, please do so in the comments section of this entry. Again, I'd like to say thank you to each and every person who took part in today's events. Together we are incredibly strong, and I think we all felt that this morning.



Listen Up

Alex on the radio. Tuesday (tomorrow) morning with Terry Moir of WDOK 102.1 at 6:45AM.