Silent Ride of Remembrance for Merry “Cookie” Daye: ¡Presente!

The rain stopped, clouds parted, and the sun came out on a winter Saturday in Austin. Fifty or so bicyclists gathered underneath the Browning Hangar, the first of its kind, a now refurbished WWII era structure built with wooden trusses. A sense of history was fitting for the somber purpose: to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of Merry “Cookie” Katheryn Daye. She was the fourth Austin Cyclist to die in 2019 in a crash, in this case a hit-and-run with a truck. We rode slowly and quietly to the crash site and had a gathering, and then returned. It was a fitting event.

The tragedy still hurts for the family members and strangers alike who didn’t know her but felt the pain and loss, even indirectly. This gathering was a step toward healing, community and preventing further senseless deaths. Perhaps, some justice will come out of this. That is why I initiated the idea for this ride and facilitated conversations to make sure it happened. At the end of the day, while the ride was a success due to no incidents and some media coverage, Cookie is gone. And that is just wrong, and it hurts. But her memory lives on.

[POST IN PROGRESS, MORE PHOTOS LATER]

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Ride of Silence to Ghost Bike for Jessica Rae Saathoff: ¡Presente!

I’ve titled this sad post the same as the ride for Anthony John Diaz, because it was very similar. A bunch of people show up at a pre-arranged place, they chat, there are some announcements, and the ride begins without people speaking unless needed for safety. The group rides around East Austin with leaders stopping car traffic or the riders as needed, and eventually it arrives at the scene of the victim’s death. There is a bike painted all white: a ghost bike. Somber words are spoken, people reflect, and the ride continues. It then ends at a park after about 10 miles, where people are thanked and more words are spoken. It’s sad, and it’s supposed to be, like a funeral procession. But now what?

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Biking Betties 7th Anniversary Co-Ed Ride and Party

Saturday it wasn’t raining for a change, and I was heading tired and home from some errands near the Peddler Bike Shop when I saw a group ride approaching.  I inquired what it was about, and one woman said, “Join us!”  Always looking for more miles to ride and new people to meet, I obliged.  Turned out, it was a women’s group ride, but since it was a special occasion, they made it co-ed.  And since most group rides tend to be other dudes, and while I enjoy hanging with other bros, I saw it as a rare opportunity to “ride like a girl.”  By that I mean just as awesome as a guy but backwards in heels, like Ginger Rogers.  Just kidding. Continue reading