Ride of Silence...

How to Organize a Ride of Silence

“And far more than that have been wounded – generally gaping, bleeding, agonizing, long-untended wounds, not at all resembling the slight gasps and clean falls seen in the movies ….”

My name is Chris Phelan.

Welcome to all of you, especially those outside of Dallas, Texas where the first ride was held in 2003. All of YOU represent a new chapter for The Ride Of Silence™. YOU are the next step because you have felt so compelled to bring this ride to YOUR community. I applaud you and give you all the respect you deserve.

But let us not forget why we are doing what we are doing. Namely, to remember those killed by motorists, to show the public-at-large that we as cyclists are not going to stop riding, and to point out that we wish only to SHARE the roads with motorists.

Most of you have had tragic accidents or seen/know of them to our cycling brethren. That is great source of inspiration and to give the ride a more local and immediate reason to take place. Other than the deaths that have occurred at the hands of motorists, there are also the injured, those who did not lose their life. They are to be celebrated, too, and held up as reasons why this ride should take place.

THE RIDE OF SILENCE is not only nation-wide, but world-wide. For that, I am extremely grateful. As a member of one of the few sports where you can be killed as soon as you start, while still learning, this is progress to making the sport safer. The Ride of Silence logo will be a silhouetted cyclist on one bended knee next to his bike. It is to look like any of us, but to represent us all.


Distance should be between 8-12 miles. Long enough for cyclists, short enough for non-cyclists. Obviously, if your course is mountainous, or there are some nasty hills on it, keep it short. You will find success if you pick a spot already common to cyclists, such as a park they use for cooling down or their easy ride. I will list the course and contact person next to each location below.


It should also be pointed out since there is no cost and no sponsors, the endorsers are bearing NO responsibility (financial or otherwise) for the ride. By endorsing it, they are simply stating they believe in what is trying to be said through the hundreds of cyclists riding slowly (no faster than 12 MPH) in silence (public assembly) and in the below goals:

  1. Mourning those cyclists killed or injured
  2. Cycling is not going to be chased or intimidated off the streets we legally share
  3. Cyclists want only to share the road with motorists
  4. Making motorists aware of the life long legal, as well as life changing, problems that can ensue from killing a cyclist

Endorsers can be companies, clubs, groups, driving associations, police, leaders in the community, and/or individuals listed on out going e-mails.

What is trying to be shown by hundreds of cyclists riding slowly (no faster than 12 MPH) in silence (namely, public assembly). Endorsers can be companies, clubs, groups, driving associations, police, leaders in the community, and/or individuals listed on out going e-mails.


This ride will be open to anyone that has access to a bike and a helmet. Amateur, professional, biker, runner, triathlete, duathlete, skater, road bikes and mountain bikes are welcomed and encouraged. Contact bikers, runners, triathlon/multisport clubs through e-mails, web sites, and message boards. One perspective of the ride I heard was “critical mass.” Just by having numbers show up, a media event takes place. Be sure to let the newspapers, newsletters, and news stations what’s going on, telling them it’s nation-wide! (Don’t wait until the morning of the ride to contact them. They schedule their reporters about a week or two in advance.) I also suggest the names of the local people who have been killed or injured be made public in e-mails to make the ride personal and local. We want to memorialize those that should be. This is where egos really must be held in check. We are inviting the weekend warrior, the casual rider, and “Fred and Wilma” as well as national champs to take part in this slow ride of silence for the chance to show respect for those killed and injured. We want to build the back- and the middle-of-the-pack. Cyclists are already aware of the dangers of riding on the road. We want those not aware to come out. Everyone is invited. Everyone.


Everyone is invited to ride, so long as they have a helmet. If they do not, ask that they not participate. Since it is a no talking ride, hand signals will be used. In controlling the ride and pace, you want to think “Funeral Procession.” That is, in fact, what we are recreating. Assign a group (6-8 of the hard core elite) at the front of the pack as “blockers.” Tell them to ride next to each other and control the pace. IF someone breaks loose, showing disrespect for the ride, let them go. I suggest you contact the local police to invite them to participate (many have bike patrol units who share our mission) and to find out how much an event permit will cost. At $50, it’s worth it, and the bike stores might split up the cost in the name of good will, for safety’s sake.


Arm bands are strongly encouraged. Black for everyone (solidarity in mourning lost cyclists). Red for those who have been injured by motorists. Ask people (teams) to bring their own, but you might bring some extra.


This ride is free. There is no registration, no sponsors, no prizes, no fees, and no talking (hand signals will used). This ride is a safe, responsible, professional, and mature response to the carnage on the roads we ride on. This ride is NOT an excuse for cyclists to act otherwise. This ride is NOT intended, advertised, or promoted as a race of any kind. Those who do not feel they can comply with the tenets of the ride, are asked NOT to attend.

If there are questions, PLEASE contact someone on our Contact Us page. You are not alone. Presently, I am concerned with as many people as possible hear about this, and second, as many as possible come out to it. Seeing black arm bans on those who know of someone killed/harassed and red arm bans for those who have actually BEEN injured or harassed is breath taking, as they ride...in silence...as slow as a funeral procession, to remember, and to say "we're not going away."

I thank you all, from the depths of the human experience. I am in awe of you. All of you.

Let’s Ride Together.

Chris Phelan


Across the nation, over 600 cyclists are killed on the road every year (662 in 2002, to 626 in 2003 according to NHTSA). A small number compared to the estimated 300,000 premature deaths estimated to result from overweight and obesity-related illnesses*.
–  League of American Bicyclists

Bicycling is part of the solution to many of our nation's problems: the obesity epidemic, traffic congestion, air pollution and more. Some 64% of adults and over 15% of kids are overweight today, resulting in 300,000 premature deaths and a cost to society of $117 billion a year. Over 22% of all motor vehicle trips Americans take are less than one mile long, and 50% of the working population commutes five miles or less to work, an easily bikeable distance. If the average person biked to work or shopping once every two weeks instead of driving, we could prevent the pollution of close to one billion gallons of gasoline from entering the atmosphere every year. The League of American Bicyclists' new television and radio PSA campaign encourages Americans to visit www.bike-to-work.com and bike to work instead of driving. The League promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works for a bicycle-friendly America.
League of American Bicyclists

“No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” –Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)