It was a somber group that met under gray skies while listening to the soft wane of bagpipes in the late afternoon of May 15 at Crandon Marina’s parking lot to honor bicyclists injured or killed.
The worldwide event had simultaneous associated rides taking place in 47 states and 373 locations all over the globe.
The pace was slow and participants were encouraged to remain in silence throughout the memorial event.
Miami-Dade County Police provided vehicle escorts. The cyclists stayed in one lane to not impede upon vehicular traffic. The group of 150 or so cyclists made two loops from the marina to the entrance of Key Biscayne.
“I am here in honor of a friend who was involved in a crash with a car while cycling to work in Brooklyn,” said Rachael Northrop.
“The car turned into her at an intersection. She survived but the injuries required 18 months to heal.”
Resident Rik Wanninkhof also participated with his sleek Litespeed Titanium bicycle.
“We need to recognize that the causeway is a wonderful place to walk and cycle,” said Wanninkhof.
“I do think that although there are more cars and cyclists every year, there seems to be a better understanding of the need to share the road and respect the rights of others.”
Rik is riding in honor of his son Patrick who was killed in a crash with a cellphone distracted motorist while participating in a cross country charity ride. (See related cover story). Debbie Wanniinkhof also attended to distribute her legacy book marks.
Motorists may at times perceive cyclists as lawless renegades but the wide majority follow the rules of the road and ride a bicycle for exercise or camaraderie.
Rickenbacker Causeway, although a busy biker thoroughfare, is still the safest ride in Miami.
If the roads in South Dade were smoother, perhaps more groups would ride south.
“The Key is a safer ride than most but bikers still get killed,” said Mike Licea.
“We have to raise awareness and also remember cyclists have a right to use the road as long as they follow the rules.”
Bill Durham was the owner of Mangrove Cycles for 42 years on the Key, having opened in 1985 and located in The Square Mall on Crandon Boulevard.