Fallen cyclists will be honored along the four-mile Ride of Silence route in Boston Wednesday. Map courtesy the Ride of Silence.
Brookline’s Joel Feingold doesn’t know how big the group of cyclists will be hitting the road at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Wednesday night, but he knows they will be thinking about their fallen fellow cyclists.
Feingold, 58, who returned to cycling about 8 years ago after staying away from it for a while, is the organizer behind what is believed to be the first “Ride of Silence” with a route entirely in Boston honoring cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles.
Five cyclists have been killed in crashes in Boston in the last year, and Feingold said he’s hoping the ride will honor them and encourage motorists to share the road with bicycles.
“It is not political in any way, it’s just we’re all out here together and we want to be safe and we don’t want to get killed or maimed and goodness knows the drivers don’t want to be involved in that either,” said Feingold.
He described the Ride of Silence as more of a procession and not a social event. The cyclists will not be talking to each other and they will be required to wear helmets. They must also be at least 16 years old and wear a white shirt or armband to symbolize fallen riders.
The Ride of Silence was first held in Dallas, Texas, in 2003, and Feingold said there are more than 300 rides this year in more than 20 countries. Some communities around Boston have held a Ride of Silence in years past, Feingold said.
The non-profit organization MassBike has organized a Ride of Silence for several years that travels from Davis Square through Cambridge and ends at Boston Common.
This year's four-mile “Ride of Silence” will start at Boston City Hall Plaza at 7 p.m. and will travel around the Boston Common and Public Garden before circling much of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and heading back to City Hall Plaza.
Nicole Freedman, the director of the Boston Bikes department Freedman said that instead of a fitness ride, the cyclists will go at more of a parade pace to honor fallen riders.
Freedman said safety is always the number-one priority for Mayor Thomas Menino, and the city wants to make the streets as safe as possible for all users.
“We have had five fatalities in the last year, and we do want to honor them,” Freedman said.
The entire ride will take about 20 to 25 minutes, and Feingold said a police escort will stop traffic as the cyclists pass.
Freedman said the city does not know exactly how many people will participate in the ride.
“One thing that has always impressed the mayor is the cycling community and how tight it is and how welcoming it is, and it’s really a group that cares a lot for each other," she said.
Feingold he is grateful for the city's support with the ride, and he’s hoping more than a few dozen and less than a few hundred cyclists participate in the ride Wednesday evening.
“This is a small thing, but it has a big message,” he said.
More information about the Ride of Silence in Boston Wednesday can be found here.