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Pedaling for a purpose

Local bicyclists pedal down Chico Way Wednesday evening as part of the West Sound Cycling Club’s Ride of Silence to honor those who have been killed or injured while cycling. A national event, the club coordinated the ride in the hopes of spreading awarness of bicycle safety as well as to remember the fallen. - Photo by Kassie Korich
Local bicyclists pedal down Chico Way Wednesday evening as part of the West Sound Cycling Club’s Ride of Silence to honor those who have been killed or injured while cycling. A national event, the club coordinated the ride in the hopes of spreading awarness of bicycle safety as well as to remember the fallen.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Riders donned black armbands as they silently pedaled down Chico Way Wednesday evening.

More than 50 bicyclists set out on a 10-mile Ride of Silence in Silverdale to honor those who have been killed or injured while cycling. A national event, members of the West Sound Cycling Club as well as cyclists from the general public united to remember the fallen.

“We wanted to do our own ride here,” said Scott Park, vice president of the club. “We lost three people here in Kitsap County in the last few years.”

Those killed in recent years while bicycling include Robert Butler, Feb. 3, 2005 on Bond Road in Poulsbo; Thomas Kendall, last year on Bainbridge Island; Lt. Cmdr. Orlando Suarez, March 13, 2004 on Kitsap Way in Bremerton; and Noel Barrett, 1996 on Bond Road.

“All of us here have been touched by a friend or relative who has been killed or injured or know of one,” Park said.

Passing out black armbands before the ride at Silverdale Cyclery, Jill Priest, West Sound Cycling Club’s ride coordinator, described what she would be thinking of during the ride. She spoke of her friend Sue Gyxos who was bicycling with her husband at Lake Chelan last year. She described how a driver dropped his cigarette in his lap, swerved off the road and hit and killed her.

“That’s just one of my friends (who was hit),” she said. “I’m going to be thinking about her and going to honor all of the cyclists who have been injured or fallen.”

David and Lisa Pitcher of Seabeck, both teachers in the CK School District, heard about the ride and decided to participate. Bicycling into the parking lot of Silverdale Cyclery together on their tandem bike, the pair were happy to be a part of the event.

“You hear about bicyclists who get killed or hurt, we thought this is something we can do to honor them,” Lisa said.

Not only was Wednesday’s ride meant to honor the fallen, but to spread awareness.

“We want to draw attention to the fact that people need to share the road and be aware,” Priest said. “Because the roads are so small, it’s imperative we all get along.”

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