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Ride of Silence 2009

Team Columbia High Road gives high profile to annual event

20th May  - Around the World

Event Website

Team Columbia Highroad professional cycling team will give high profile to this annual event by supporting it via its active racers in their respective events on May 20th.  

Team Columbia-Highroad men’s and women’s teams will wear black armbands at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de l’Aude on May 20th to commemorate the Ride of Silence.  Columbia-Highroad riders will wear the armbands to help raise global awareness of road safety.  

Michael Barry, a veteran Columbia-Highroad rider from Canada , will participate as the world watches his team continue to take on the 21st stage Giro d’Italia.  “I have been around cycling my entire life.  It’s a special community of people from all around the world, and it feels great to do something to help raise awareness of the importance of vehicles and cyclists safely sharing the road.”

The complete Columbia-Highroad Giro squad includes Michael Barry (Can), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), Mark Cavendish (GB), Thomas Lovkvist (Swe),  Marco Pinotti (Ita),  Morris Possoni (Ita),  Mark Renshaw (Aus),  Michael Rogers (Aus) and Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Byl). 

The women’s team at the Tour de L’Aude include Kate Bates (Aus), Chantal Beltman (Hol), Emilia Fahlin (Den), Luise Keller (Ger), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) and Linda Villumsen (Den).

Cyclist Eric Little approached the team to ask their support following a near fatal accident with a car. “I wanted to use my example to speak up for those who can no longer speak out about road safety. Thousands of cyclists are injured or killed each year by careless drivers; it’s possible for both groups to use the roads without devastating families.” Asked why he approached the pro team he said, “I wanted to create more awareness for all those injured or killed by drivers and I thought, what better way than to reach out through cyclists everyone universally respects?”

The Ride of Silence is a free, world-wide, slow-speed memorial to commemorate all cyclists injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. The ride begins at 7:00 pm local time with the goal of raising awareness  that cyclists also use the roads and to encourage drivers to share the roads with consideration.

Ride of Silence founder Chris Phelan said, "I began the Ride of Silence  to show that each cyclist is a member of a larger community. We're doctors, lawyers, co-workers, husbands, wives and parents. Each time a cyclist is injured or, even worse, killed, that sends a ripple through the community. Each accident hurts more than just one individual. The ride is held in silence to reflect that loss. Cyclists are part of the fabric of every community and the benefits of cycling, such as better health and reduced pollution, should make it a priority for more people everywhere."

The sponsor less ride is organized each year by volunteers. The 2008 ride was held at more than 300 locations, in 18 countries, on all 7 continents. It has come a long way from the first ride held in 2003, that ride was organised as a one-time event. But the  Ride of Silence touched many and found universal support. It is now an annual event held on May 20th.

This event is very close to the heart of CJ Farquharson, founder of WomensCycling.net and known around the world for her photography and coverage of professional women's racing. CJ herself was nearly killed in 2007, during the final stage of the Thuringen Rundfahrt, when the Chief Moto Marshall ploughed into the side of the moto she was travelling on. CJ was within 5cm of losing her left leg, it was severed below the knee in the accident with only 5cm of her calf muscle remaining intact. The impact also crushed both bones and her ankle, she had minor head injuries and major damage to ligaments in her right and right shoulder in the process.  

Coincidentally, this accident happened within 200m of the same spot, that took the life of Australian cyclist Amy Gillett in 2005 and seriously injured five her team mates when they were hit by a car. 

Safety on our roads should be supported by all cyclist and drivers around the world.

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