November 8, 2009

Tour de Greater Homewood/Jack Yates Memorial bike ride



Today was a gorgeous day for a bike ride, so that's exactly what 40 (edit: 80!) or so Baltimoreans (and wanna-be B'moreans like me) did.  But this ride wasn't to be only for fun, as it also commemorated cycling enthusiast and community activist, Jack Yates, who was killed in a hit-and-run collision with a truck earlier this summer.  So with dual purpose, we set out from Gordon Plaza at the University of Baltimore and headed off into the hilly streets of northern Charm City.  There were so many places and things that I wanted to snag photos of, but there's no way I could've kept up with the group if I'd stopped that much.  Hopefully what I did capture will give some idea of the great time had by all.  

The guys of the North Baltimore Bicycle Brigade put together a terrific route that headed first up towards and through Charles Village, along a short stretch of gritty Greenmount Ave, around Venable Park, back over and up the killer hill on Charles past Loyola College, and into the beautiful, park-like neighborhood of Springlake Way. 



After a break to enjoy the scenery and annoy the residents, we cut over to Roland Park for a cruise up and down Roland Avenue, before heading down for a short run along the Jones Falls Trail and a stop to pay homage at the site of Jack's accident. 



At the corner of Lafayette and Maryland Avenues, everyone stopped to raise their bikes in a moment of silence honoring Jack.  The ghost bike placed in his memory is a moving sight, but even more sobering were the remnants of a bicycle-shaped police chalk line designating where he was hit and dragged around the corner.  It was a sad reminder that no cyclist is immune to tragedy, no matter how experienced a rider they may be.  No amount of vigilance and alertness will save you, no rights to the road provided by law will protect you, when things just plain go wrong between a motor vehicle and a bike. 

But on a day like today, with a glorious blue sky and warm sunshine, it's best not to dwell for too long on solemn thoughts.  It's so much better to pedal along with a bunch of friendly folks on a relaxed ride, celebrating the freedom of being on a bike, in the memory of a man who did so much for this part of the city.

Here's to you, Jack.  I never met you, but I'm glad to know that you were here for at least a while...   



Click here for more of my photos from the ride.  Also check out a brief but very cool video by Liam, here

9 comments:

Groover said...

This hit home. It's sad reality. Ghost bikes and awareness rides are definitely worth doing if it just saves one life. Thanks for posting this.

And your pictures certainly capture the day.

KaliDurga said...

Yeah, I definitely felt it was important to be a part of this. I've begun to love urban riding in Baltimore, so doing rides like this is a small way to become involved and possibly help to improve conditions.

Here's the Baltimore Sun's coverage of the event: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bal-md.bikers09nov09,0,5844573.story

nbbb said...

EXCELLENT photos! It was great to meet you yesterday! :)

birds fly said...

Glad to hear the ride went well...it certainly was a beautiful day. I really wanted to participate, especially since I missed the ghost bike installation, but my parents were in town so I was occupied with them. We went to the Poe exhibit at the BMA, which was really fascinating. If you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely check it out.

KaliDurga said...

@nbbb: It was great to meet you guys, too, as well as all the other people I talked to. No snobby roadies in that crowd, everyone on the ride seemed so very friendly and cool. Just makes me love B'more that much more :D

@birds fly: Ah, family. Gotta love 'em, even when they're an inconvenience (at least mine can be, don't know about yours) ;) I did make it up to the BMA a couple of weeks ago for the Poe exhibit and you're right, it was very well put together. They had to clean my nose prints off of every case that had a Harry Clarke illustration. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, too.

bikesncoffee said...

Hi KaliDurga, Great to meet you at the ride, Sorry about the hills, I usually cut through the neighborhood a different way. Thanks for the awesome pics too! Makes me wish I took my camera instead of 3 layers of clothes...

KaliDurga said...

Hey, very cool to meet you, too. And the hills weren't too bad. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right?

human being said...

But this ride
wasn't to be only for fun

flowing with and against time
it was a riverlike run



enjoyed reading this... both sad and beautiful... like life...

KaliDurga said...

Thank you, my friend. I'm so glad you were able to stop by and share a few words!