Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Rode for My Buddy

The weather was decent yesterday, with air temps in the mid-50s (13°C). This would be just like a day that Rick, my riding buddy, good friend, and fellow civic activist and a real "wonk" on a number of issues, would meet me and we would ride to our state capitol to hammer-away at the issue of the day. We did that for a number of years, and fought a number of battles. We have safer streets and better roads and cleaner government and, well, lots of good things.

Six years ago in April, Rick and I were out for a pleasant Sunday afternoon ride. We weren't planning on going anywhere. Just riding together was that day's objective. We stopped at a local watering hole, and got some water. We sat on the restaurant's deck on a that bright sunny afternoon, sipped our drinks, enjoyed the beautiful day, and planned our next strategy in wonking some local elected leaders on something or-other. He was telling me about his daughter's upcoming "Sweet 16" birthday, and was making sure that I had marked the event on my calendar.

We re-mounted our iron steeds, donned our helmets, and took off. Five minutes later, it was all over. Rick was hit by a cell-phone yapping yupette driving an SUV, who said (and I kid you not), "when I looked up, you were just there!" I barely avoided getting hit myself, but nothing could have been worse to see my friend killed right before my eyes.

So yesterday, I rode for Rick. I rode for him one more time. I rode in his memory, and for his wife and four children. I rode to our state capitol, to have my say at yet another hearing on banning the use of hand-held wireless communications devices while driving.

I will persist and continue hammering on this issue. For all fellow drivers, for bikers, for myself, but most of all, for Rick. May he rest in peace.

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