ghost bike

You know that moment …




That moment after nine months …


nine months that turned your former slim self into something unrecognizable.


That moment after 20+ hours of hard labor …


… when you finally get to see that baby who spent the previous nine months growing in your belly …



That moment when your newly born baby is placed in your arms.  And at that moment you cry like a baby …  right along with your he-man of a husband who has turned into a pile of mush.

And in that moment, all you want to do is protect that new life.  Fiercely.  Forever.



And you try.  You really do.  But as they grow and want to flex their independence, you know you have to let go.




Well … that’s my approach.


I’m still working on the whole “letting go” thing.




Eventually we all have to come to the realization that we can’t coddle them forever …


You can only hope you’ve prepared them to be safe.  To be careful.  To look both ways before crossing the street.  And to always remember that they share those streets with others. Whether as a motor vehicle operator, a pedestrian …


… or a bicyclist.




Peppered around the city of Chicago are constant reminders of the dangers of the streets.


Reminders in the form of ghost bikes.  Place where bicyclists’ lost their lives and decorated — worshiped — as shrines.


And more often than not, those ghost bikes mark the loss of life of someone who was taken way to early …




And as you pass them on the way to the park or the Target or the supermarket, you are haunted …


Haunted with pure fear.


Because, as a parent of two young adults-in-the-making who are eager to flex their independence …


You can only hope and wish and pray …




… that this moment is not in their future.



P.S.  Have you picked up your spray paint yet?  The spray paint link party and contest goes live just one week from today …Click herefor more ….



The party goes live on Friday, October 12 at 6 AM EST …


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  1. says

    wow- this is so sad. that bike is a beautiful reminder. i have never seen anything like it. i almost got hit once by a lady who was making a right hand turn…. i was on the same street going in the same direction, but i was going straight and had the right of way…. she just went ahead and turned and i braked as fast as i could- it was so scary. but things can happen quicker than a moment.

  2. says

    We have these in Portland, too. I’m not sure if they are memorials; they don’t have plaques with names on them. I always thought they were there for fun.

    And I hear you on the letting go/fear. Loud and clear. It’s HARD. As someone said to me recently, “Parenting isn’t for wimps!”

  3. says

    We have 2 ghost bikes near us. The riders were completing a cross country ride and were within 10 miles of the end of their journey when they were hit. I get chills every time I pass the bikes.

  4. says

    Yikes, this freaks me out… but you’ve taught your kids everything you know and you will have to trust them to make their own decisions. With such a strong foundation, you have no worries xox

  5. says

    I *just*heard about these on NPR last week. We don’t have them in San Diego. When I lived in Ft. Lauderdale about ten years ago there were “blue bikes.” It was an anonymous public art project. Every so often you’d see an old bike, spray painted blue, chained to a bike rack on the street. As far as I know they had no meaning. The white ones are obviously more sobering.. especially for those of us with bike-riding kids…

  6. says

    What a well written post…your story line as you highlighted what the loss of live really means, was really told with heart. I think the way this city has highlighted the problem in a haunting but lovely way is inspiring.
    Makes any one of us more careful around bikes..I will never forget the time we we’re headed to Teton and on the road in it gets really narrow,and their was a Bike Race and the bikes we’re within finger lengths to the cars, and trucks as we all went down a steep grade hill…they road like they we’re imperverious to harm….I only hoped no one got hurt.

    So.Dak has signs that mark where some one died in a car crash,They say why die. It is a in your face slow down.Their is a spot on one really bad road going to Hot Springs…6 signs in a row. A family on vacation in thier station wagon..
    So as I head out today,I will slow down and pay attention …thank you for a kind post

  7. says

    Living in the ‘burbs, I don’t see these like you do. But it is such a wonderful, yet eery, tribute to someone who loved cycling so much. And to think one more happened just yesterday. So very sad!

  8. says

    I’ve never seen a bike all memorialized like this – just the crosses and fences thing. It’s weird, out of 5 girls in my family 2 of us have been hit by cars. If those odds carried out it would be 40% of their offspring being hit. I try not to worry because it’s just not productive. I know for sure that the things you worry about never happen, and the worst things that happen are things you would never imagine. Poignant post Linda.

  9. says

    Oh my…my heart sank…this so reminded me of my nephew’s tribute on the roadside….When I visit my sister, I always tend to avoid driving down that road…just way to difficult for me…Yes, it is so very hard to “let go”…I think I must have called my son everyday when he went away to college…He is a grown man with a family of his own and I still call to check to see if he had arrived at a destination safely…We will always worry about our children…the intensity of the “worry” softens as years go by, but it is still always there…it’s the mother bear in us…

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