Summer is almost here, and as I finish this cup of coffee and prepare to do some Saturday morning grading, my buddy Mark Troxler is riding across the United States on his Kona Sutra touring bike. Facing the elements alone, relying on his own two legs, the kindness of strangers and of the wind, Troxler is living out one of my dreams.
I have workshops to attend this summer, but I believe I'll join Troxler in Missouri on the Kady Trail. A few members of the Night Riders are planning to carpool up to the trail the last week of June and rendesvouz with Troxler to ride a few days with him. There's no better way to see the land than from the saddle of a bike!
Last Wednesday, I rode down to Trinity Park in Fort Worth to join the Ride of Silence in honor of those who have been injured or killed while riding their bikes. 218 riders of all shapes and sizes rode the streets of Fort Worth, and among them were the parents of a young woman who had been killed while doing what she loved most. Listening to her father address the crowd, I couldn't help but to imagine how hard it would be to speak about one of my own children if I were in his shoes. While we rode, another cyclist, Michael McNair, from Dallas, was in a hospital, suffering from broken vertebrae and a host of other injuries after being hit by a car on his way to work. Last night, I couldn't sleep, so I visited McNair's Facebook page and read the many posts his friends had used to send him their well wishes. I viewed his photos and saw images of a man who could be my brother in spirit. In one, he was holding a snake he had found while cycling and I smiled for all the times I have "rescued" snakes from those who believe that only dead snakes are good snakes. Seeing the comments of McNair's friends painted a picture of a man with a sense of humor and a kind and generous spirit. I only hope that I get to ride with him someday. My thoughts go out to him and his family as the doctors work to knit him back together again.
Until then, I will ride every chance I get, and will do my best to be visible and predictable and to make the streets a little safer for cyclists by reinforcing the message to my students that driving is a responsibility that requires absolute concentration and focus. I have been guilty of distracted driving in the past, and McNair's injuries are a painful reminder that it only takes an instant to change the world forever.