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The Ride of Silence rolled through Warren for the very first time Wednesday night. The worldwide event is a ride in the memory of more than 700 cyclists killed each year while riding their bikes, including several from the Mahoning Valley.
About 50 cyclists participated in the event. Organizer Jay Wonders said the ride started about 10 years ago in other parts of the country, and the world. He and his wife Shelley rode in honor of their son, Garrett, a naval officer who lost his life on a bike nine years ago while training for the Olympics in Charleston, South Carolina.
“He was just out training for the Olympic trials on a straight road, sunny day, no curves. The man that hit him just wasn’t paying attention, didn’t see him. He thought he hit a deer,” said Shelley Wonders.
Joanne Gilbert and Bryant Furniss wore black arm bands in honor of Larry Furniss. Furniss died from injuries sustained when he was hit by a car on his bike in 2010.
“He was on Greenway Bike Trail and just crossing the road,” said Gilbert.
“In that accident, they were saying the signs weren’t visible for both parties,” said Furniss.
The cyclists rode about seven miles in silence through the streets of downtown Warren. They handed out flyers to remind people to share the road with bicycles.
“I ride my bicycle all the time. We’re doing a ride to work day on Friday, and I know people don’t respect bicyclists on the road,” said Warren Councilman John Brown, D-3rd. “This is a way to get people to respect you just a little bit more.”
The Ride of Silence is always the third Wednesday in May. While it may be the first, Wonders knows this won’t be the last time they ride in Warren.
“We’ve gotten good support from the city and everybody involved, so I’m sure it’s going to hang on and get better every year,” said Jay Wonders.