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” KatherynDaye. 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.
At 2:25 am on Monday, December 16, 2019, Merry Daye, a black woman aged 45 and a male were riding their bikes south on Cameron Road. Her bike had a trailer, and she was working on it while in the bike lane. The man was on the sidewalk. A silver Dodge Ram truck (the irony of the name is not lost on me) veered into the bike lane, crashing into Merry, bike and trailer. The truck then did a hit and run and left the scene. Emergency medical services was called and came to the crash site. They found Merry without a pulse, but were able to restore her heartbeat. She was transported to the hospital where she died. For her, family and friends, it will be Christmas without Merry. Sources: CBS Austin, KXAN, Austin Police Department
While I am off the bike for a few days, not really by choice, I’m searching for something to blog about. At least I’m getting some rest. Maybe I’ll try a stationary bike or try to ride anyway. I’m tempted to take a rest day from blogging, too, but obviously I’m not. What follows is a rather random brain dump of bike stuff. Just one by itself isn’t enough for a single blog, but together they add up to one. I think it’s interesting, so maybe you will too.
I was going to write about how I’m unable to bike for a while, or the heat wave (109 F forecast for Monday!), or possibly put up pictures of my collection of bike t-shirts. Then I saw this sad news that made me do a double-take because it’s just crazy. There’s not much to know at this point until they catch the guy who did it. And what’s making this more news than it might be otherwise is that the victim was Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a cardiologist to former US President George H.W. Bush. Houston, we have a problem. It’s you. Quelle bizarre!
NOTE: Many folks may not have seen my Sunday, February 18th post, which I had inexcplicably moved to the trash and didn’t notice all day. I restored it and would love for you to read it, so here is the link for “27-Mile Brushy Creek Trail Ride + Peddler Bike Shop Stop.” After all, a blog mostly about bikes needs some ride reports sometimes!
Andrew Tilin: Rest In Peace
Today’s post is more bad news, I’m very sorry to report. Yet another Austin cyclist, Andrew Tilin, was killed on Saturday, February 17, the same day I wrote about Leonel Hernandez, who was killed under mysterious circumstances back on January 29. There isn’t even a picture of Hernandez available yet that I can find. There are photos of Tilin, still young and in the prime of his life in his 40’s. I didn’t know him but I’m heartbroken for those who did. Continue reading →