North Texas Daily

Ride of Silence returns to Denton

Ride of Silence returns to Denton

Ride of Silence returns to Denton
May 19
11:19 2014

Kresheera Helaire // Intern Writer

In commemoration of the injured and fallen cyclists worldwide, UNT’s Triathlon Club will host Denton’s second annual Ride of Silence.

The ride will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fouts Field and end there as well. It is free and open to the public.

President and Executive Director Chris Phelan launched the Ride of Silence in Dallas after his friend and fellow cyclist, Larry Schwartz was brutally killed by a passing bus in 2003.

The plan was to gather as many riders via email and word of mouth to come together and pay tribute to Schwartz.

However, the event was not intended for the public initially, but the news traveled fast after gaining local media attention.

Since then, the ride has expanded into a global phenomenon with 372 participating locations worldwide.

Recent UNT graduate and former Triathlon Club president Andrew Ashworth decided to follow in Phelan’s footsteps and take action here in Denton.

“I started the Ride of Silence last year as a way for the UNT Triathlon Club to stand apart from other sports club and to also set the stage for something meaningful that hasn’t been done here before,” Ashworth said.

Ashworth said there is no registration process to become an active member of this movement.

Everyone must agree to abide by the safety rules and regulations, ride at about 10 mph, and remain silent during the entire trip.

Phelan described the atmosphere during the very first ride in Dallas as emotional but effective.

“The very first ride was chilling because it’d never happened before… you could hear sniffles and people actually sobbing out loud during the bike ride,” Phelan said. “It was just that touching.”

Phelan explained that it takes a great deal of work to put an event like this together and execute it efficiently.

Despite this, Phelan is currently generating a plan to make Ride of Silence a national memorial day for departed riders.

“The term holiday suggests a day off,” he said. “It would not be a day for relaxation or going out to have a picnic but a day of national recognition.”

“This problem of cyclist being the lowest common denominator on a road exists throughout the world,” Phelan said. “In this country alone, we will lose just under 1,000 cyclists a year… this deserves its day.”

Feature photo: The annual Ride of Silence honors fallen bike riders and raises awareness of bike safety. This year, the Denton ride organized by UNT Triathlon Club will start at 7 p.m. on May 21 at Fouts Field. Feature photo graphic courtesy of UNT/Denton Ride of Silence Facebook

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