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Silent ride, loud message (w/video)

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Ride of Silence cyclists take off from Big Ole Central Park in Alexandria Wednesday night. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)2 / 5
This was the ninth year the Ride of Silence has taken place in Alexandria. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)3 / 5
Some of the participants in the Ride of Silence wore T-shirts honoring a friend or a loved one who was killed while biking. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press) 4 / 5
Brad Dumm (on picnic table) talks to Ride of Silence participants at Big Ole Central Park. Dumm's son, Dennis, was killed in a bike crash in Minneapolis in 2009. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press) 5 / 5

Some of them lost a family member in a bicycle crash because of a distracted or speeding driver.

Some of them had loved ones who were injured while they were biking.

Some of them just wanted to make a point that bicyclists have a legal right to the road just like motor vehicles do.

All of them — more than 90 — came together Wednesday night for Alexandria's ninth annual "Ride of Silence," an international bicycle ride to remember the cyclists killed and to support those injured while riding on public roads.

Before the bike riders took off from Big Ole Central Park for a silent five-mile ride, they listened to Brad and Sue Dumm, who lost a son in a bicycle crash in the Twin Cities nine years ago. They also heard from a family member of Jessica Hanson of Hoffman who was struck and killed by a speeding driver who blew through a stop sign in Minneapolis in 2013. It was the first time her family was able to participate in the Ride of Silence.

The local ride was started by the Dumms and Jake Capistrant from Jake's Bikes.

Capistrant told the participants that it's rougher than ever for bicyclists to be on the road these days because drivers are so distracted. He encouraged bikers to wear bright yellow or contrasting colors so they can be seen. He also suggested bikers to buy lights that are visible in the daytime from a mile and a half away.

Third Avenue in Alexandria is dangerous for bicyclists to cross with some vehicles going 50 miles per hour, Capistrant said. If people want their town to be more safe, Capistrant said, they should talk to city officials to see why more vehicles aren't being pulled over for speeding.

Capistrant said it was also important for bicyclists to be aware of their surroundings, slow down and obey the law.

The Ride of Silence participants listened to a prayer honoring the fallen bicyclists and then without saying a word, they pedaled on.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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