They are two young Central Florida women united by parallel tragedies: About nine months apart, their fathers were hit and killed while lawfully, cautiously riding their bicycles.
But now 24-year-old swim coach Lacey Nickell and 30-year-old elite triathlete Sara McLarty are also joined by a common mission. On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., they will lead the Clermont “Ride of Silence” to honor not only the fathers they love and miss, but all cyclists who have been killed and injured by motorists.
“We have this amazing opportunity to make something positive out of a terrible situation,” says Nickell, whose father — popular triathlete Harry Nickell — was killed in November 2010. “We have good days and bad days, but it helps to do things like this. I think it makes us stronger.”
McLarty’s father, Brent McLarty, was killed in August 2011 while riding in Deleon Springs. In both cases, the motor vehicles swerved out of their lanes and struck the riders.
Started in Dallas, the Ride of Silence is now in its 10th year and an international phenomenon. In several hundred cities around the world, cyclists come together for a short, slow-paced, silent processional. It is both a salute to the fallen and a reminder to motorists and cyclists to take heed in sharing the road.
“It’s a simple concept,” Lacey Nickell says. “Entire families can come out to ride. It’s not held super late in the day, and it’s slow. We had kids with training wheels join us last year.”
That ride, coordinated in just a few weeks’ time, managed to attract 176 cyclists, despite a forecast for rain. This year, with sunny skies and mild temperatures predicted, plus a well-organized publicity campaign, Nickell hopes for considerably more.
Riders should gather at Clermont’s Waterfront Park by 6:30 p.m. for the dedication of a memorial bench in honor of Harry Nickell — the park being the site of so many of his triathlons. The ride itself will start at 7 and proceed clockwise 8 miles around Lake Minneola.
The pace will be kept below 12 mph.
Lacey Nickell hopes she’ll be able to do more than cheer lead from the sidelines. Two weeks ago, she was side-swiped by a car while riding, breaking her elbow and dislocating her shoulder.
The irony is not lost on her.
“People at the hospital kept telling me how lucky I was,” she says. “I told them, ‘I kind of know that firsthand.’”
Daughters honor fallen fathers in Clermont ‘Ride of Silence’
By Kate Santich
Courtesy of: Orlando Sentinel
Article can be found here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/change-the-world/os-daughters-lead-clermont-ride-of-silence,0,3968827.post