It seems that every time I bring up the subject of cycling on city streets, someone asks me, "Aren't you scared to be on the road with cars?"
Here's the honest truth: I'm scared every time.
I'm a 200-pound guy on a 25-pound bicycle with nothing to protect me but my bicycle skills, my common sense, a styrofoam helmet and my faith in the good driving habits of thousands of motorists. All it would take would be for me to be in the wrong place when someone at the wheel of a 1,600-kilogram vehicle drops his/her coffee, or turns around to tell the kids to shut up, or takes a close look at some confusing cellphone text message, and I'm a statistic.
Yeah, I'm scared. But I know that staying at home isn't going to make the situation any better. The motoring public (often equated with the general public) has to see cyclists on the road every day. Singles, couples, groups, parents with trailers, people with groceries. I'm a fan of public cycling events, because they put bicycles on the streets, and demonstrate that streets are not the exclusive preserve of motor vehicles.
One such cycling event is Together We Travel, Cycle for Angels, which is being held for the second year, on Sunday, June 15, in Waterloo. This event has its roots in the 2012 memorial ride for Barrie Conrod, who was killed while on a Sunday ride with his wife, Heather Caron. Caron honours Conrod's memory with Cycle for Angels, but this is not the "Ride for Barrie." It's a ride about sharing the road and about building respect for all vulnerable road users.
This year's ride, to begin at the CIGI parking lot at Caroline and Erb streets in Waterloo (registration begins at 1:30 p.m.) will wend its way through Waterloo streets and finish at the Waterloo Civic Square as a part of the city's Open Streets events. There will be bicycle safety instruction for young cyclists and reflective armbands for the first 300 registrants. Participants are asked to wear a helmet and a white shirt.