Cyclists blessed, ride in silence

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – More than 30 cyclists took to the streets Wednesday night in another Kickstart event. Bikers were blessed by a local pastor and rode several miles in silence to honor cyclists who have been injured and killed while riding on public roads.

Kickstart coincides with National Bike Month. Kickstart’s a month-long event that gets cyclists active for the upcoming summer, while celebrating bikes, art, music and theater.

This May, organizers behind Kickstart scheduled more than 20 events for cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.

Under a light rain shower, cyclists received a blessing from Pastor Thomas Eggold, the senior pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. “We are conscience of the threat of accident, injury, and death,” he said during his prayer. “We pray that you guard and protect us on our way.”

It was the first blessing of its kind to take place in Fort Wayne.

Afterwards, the cyclists rode from the Emmanuel Lutheran Church through downtown and nearby areas for nearly an hour, before returning back to the starting point.

The ride was part of a national event called, Ride of Silence. Cyclists across the globe, at more than 300 locations, took to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been injured or killed while biking on roads.

A hurst led the pack of bicyclists. “It’s kind of a mock funeral procession,” said P.J. Thuringer, the president of Bicycle Friendly Fort Wayne. “This is just something to raise awareness and to honor victims. This is kind of a memorial ride.”

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

The Ride of Silence was a free ride. Bikers were asked to ride no faster than 12 miles-per-hour, wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, and remain silent during the trip.

The ride was designed to raise awareness to motorists, police, and city officials that cyclists have the legal right to the public roadways.

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