It's a small, unfortunate community," says 27-year-old Ann Brown of the bicyclists in the fourth annual Ride of Silence, which will commemorate loved ones who have been killed by careless motorists.
Her father, Dr. Bob Breedlove, joined those sad ranks in 2005 while competing in his sixth Ride Across America, an arduous coast-to-coast marathon. With more than 1,000 miles and the notorious La Veta pass behind him, the widely known and respected 53-year-old father of four was struck and killed instantly by an unlicensed 15-year-old driver on Highway 12 near Trinidad.
Though it was the teen's second accident on the same road in seven months, he received 24 hours of community service, six months of unsupervised probation and a $35 fine.
"One minute, he was actually in sixth place," Brown sighs tremulously, "and the next minute, he was gone."
Her silent sojourn will be but one of 226 simultaneous rides in 10 countries (including Antarctica, where scientists will ride stationary bikes). Colorado Springs will host two events; Brown, a Colorado Springs resident since 2002, will cover the north side of town, while Charlotte Miller covers the south. Both hope to raise motorists' awareness about cyclists' rights and safety.
"I think it allows me to take something that's so hard and emotional, so close, and hopefully, maybe save someone else," Brown says. "Maybe someone will drive down the road and think, "Hey, there's a biker, and I'm going too fast.'"
Wednesday, May 16, 7 p.m.
Ann Brown's group will depart from the Promenade Shops at Briargate, 1885 Briargate Pkwy., after a short ceremony.
Charlotte Miller's group will depart from Old Town Bike Shop, 426 S. Tejon St.
Visit rideofsilence.org for more.
For additional information on Dr. Breedlove and his death, read "Wrecked," in the November 2006 issue of Outside at outside.away.com.