Part 1 is at this link if you missed it. The short version is I and a few folks are reinstalling a bicycle that’s a memorial for a woman killed while working on her bike in the bike lane in December 2019. Her name was Merry “Cookie” Daye. This is the rest of the story.
I finally got around to spray painting the bike for Cookie. Lauren, who worked with Houston Ghost Bike and thus is the real leader of this effort, provided a can of appliance enamel, which should last longer. I did it in two stages, and it was a bit of a smelly pain, but manageable. In future I’ll try to arrange for it to be done in a place where it can be locked inside on the ground floor. It’s not a perfect job because I ran out of paint and didn’t have a stand for it. But it looks good enough, and has fewer parts on it.
Another crucial part was getting the sign with Cookie’s picture printed and laminated. There was some complication with that latter bit and thus a delay, but since we were still doing resuscitation of the ghost bike, it worked out fine. Our friend at Central Texas Families for Safer Streets kindly provided this, and given they donated the bike in the first place, we’re grateful for both, without which we wouldn’t have a project. Here’s the sign, after it was attached to the bicycle with zip ties.
The other supplies that were needed included: a heavy chain, an old padlock, and an old U-lock which I donated. Lauren donated a new padlock, zip ties, and brought a snipping tool and more Gorilla Glue. Occasional ride buddy and all around handy dude to know Rhodney came to help reattach the bike.
So we walked the bike to the little parking buffer with four trees by the church. Oaks, I think. Fortunately, it’s on church property and they assented to hosting the memorial. (And kudos to Cameron Road Church of Christ for walking the walk.) A tree makes a fitting place to remember a person, with the roots, and life, and all that poetic stuff. Walking there we were chatting, but internally I felt in a somber mood. I never met Cookie, but this hit near home, quite literally. And it just chafes me that her killer, the driver of the hit-and-run driver never was found (although the truck was).
We fiddled with the chains, locks, and zip ties for a bit. Lauren suggested small but important little details, like face the bike in the same was as traffic. Consider painting the locks, but be sure not to cover the keyhole. We got it situated, and no formal words were spoken, or a moment of silence taken. If you think about it too much, it just gets you really mad. Maybe this little action will help create some awareness for drivers to slow down, go around, and be kind to cyclists. Perhaps a family member will drive by and stop to remember their loved one.
Afterward, we sat in the warmish Texas sun on my porch, Lauren in the swing, Rhodney in the uncomfortably long-seated wicker chair, me standing. We talked about plans going forward. Like documenting where other bikes are and who they’re for with a map. Or spreading the word, getting enough people to volunteer and resources together to maintain the bikes, and having a bike or two ready if one is ever needed again. Sad to say, though Austin is remarkably safe for cyclists compared to some cities. But it’s probably a matter of when, not if another ghost bike will be needed.
It was a sad day, but a good one nonetheless, because we did something. I hope Cookie would agree.
Be careful out there, folks. Be good to each other.
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