Local cyclists can take a positive sort of ride Wednesday night, to make a public statement about bike safety.
The Ride of Silence is an international commemoration of cyclists who have been killed or injured on the road, held annually on the third Wednesday in May. The grass roots observance started in 2003 in Dallas, and it has spread to seven continents and 20 nations, according to The Ride of Silence organization website.
The Vancouver Bicycle Club will have a police escort while hosting a quiet, slow-paced ride on local streets, featuring visits to the spots where Benjamin Fulwiler and Gordon Patterson were killed.
Fulwiler was an 11-year-old who collided with a C-Tran bus in 2013, and was run over; Patterson was a popular science teacher at Hudson’s Bay High School — he used to tell his students that he loved them, but only “in a positive sort of way” — who was killed on his bike in 2009 by a driver who was texting while driving.
The Vancouver Bicycle Club’s Ride of Silence will be an 8-mile loop; a shorter option will be available, too. Both will be group rides guided by experienced leaders, and no riders will be left behind. You don’t need to be a member of the club to participate.
Riders begin at 7 p.m. May 15 at the parking lot behind the Community Hub bike shop at 1604 Main St. in downtown Vancouver. Please arrive 15 minutes before start time to sign up and hear the safety briefing. Helmets are required, and lights, mirrors, pumps and other basics are strongly recommended. The ride should be over before sunset, 8:35 p.m. that day, but note that Washington law always requires lights and reflectors for night riding.
“Remember, we want to be awesome representatives of the cycling community in Clark County and spread a love and respect for our great sport by obeying all traffic laws and riding in a safe and courteous manner,” says a statement from VBC.
The VBC also recommends wearing a black or red arm band. For more information, visit VBC-USA.com or RideofSilence.org. After the ride, cyclists will gather for refreshment at Heathen Brewing Feral Public House, 1109 Washington St. in Vancouver.
Big ride set for July 27
The Vancouver Bicycle Club has again rescheduled its biggest event of the year, the Ride Around Clark County. This year, the RACC is set for July 27. All five routes, from 20 to 100 miles, will start and finish just west of the reconstructed Fort Vancouver — specifically at Building 410, 1001 E. Fifth St. The festive scene there will be the same as last year in the Pearson Air Museum hangar, club president Devin Bowen said, featuring food, beer and music; the ride itself continues to offer rolling mechanical support and several rest stops with food and drink.
Avoiding scheduling conflicts with other regional bike rides has been a challenge, Bowen said, but — after many years in early May and last summer in late August — the Vancouver Bicycle Club now wants to stick with the last Saturday in July for the Ride Around Clark County. That weekend is free of conflict with big bike events such as the Portland Century (Aug. 18) and the Seattle-to-Portland ride (July 13-14), he said.
“We finally got the date we really wanted,” Bowen said. “We always wanted the heart of summer.”
Visit VBC-USA.com for all the details, route maps and registration prices.
If you’re an adult who likes bikes but feels rusty about riding down the street — or if you even like the idea of bikes and riding, but never got much basic training at all — the Vancouver Bicycle Club has the outing for you. At 5:30 p.m. on the next three Mondays, the club hosts its final “Road Cycling 101: Stress-free Skills & Safety” outings of the season before taking a summer break.
Road Cycling 101 covers the basics: helmets and equipment, changing gears, the rules of the road and fixing flat tires. Please be sure to arrive before 5:30 p.m., in time for mandatory equipment checks and safety briefing; at 5:45 p.m. the group heads out on a flat, easy ride that’s no longer than 10 miles. Post-ride, there will be plenty of time for debriefing and social networking. No rider is left behind during these outings, which are led by experienced riders. The next three Road Cycling 101 outings are:
• 5:30 p.m. May 13 and 20, Skyview High School, 1300 W. 139th St., Vancouver.
• 5:30 p.m. May 28 at McLoughlin Middle School, 5802 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver.
If you’re up for more advanced skill building, such as riding in groups, riding on city streets, riding longer distances and tackling ascents and descents, try Road Cycling 201. Those outings are set for:
• 5:30 p.m. May 13, 20 and 28 at McLoughlin Middle School.
Road Cycling 101 and 201 are free and preregistration is not required. You’ll just have to sign in when you show up.