A Ride of Silence, a silent ride to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while biking, will debut in Hudson and Stow May 18.

This local ride will join countless others across the world. The first Ride of Silence was in Dallas in 2003. It was organized by Chris Phelan after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

Stacy Rhea, director of community relations at LifeCenter Plus, is heading up the observance for area cyclists.

"We will ride from Stow into Brecksville," Rhea said. "LifeCenter Plus and Eddy's Bike Shop are working together to make the city streets safer for cyclists."

According to Rhea, cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, but the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no registration fees.

Appropriately, the rides are in May, National Bike Month.

The rides also is an opportunity to remember and show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured, including two local bike club members, Matt Billings and Jim Lamber, who were victims last year.

"The Stow/Hudson Ride of Silence will be one of the most important rides of the year," Jerry Lynch, owner of LifeCenter Plus said. "As we mourn the loss of thousands of cyclist across the globe, we will also ride in memory of Matt Billings and Jim Lamber, two Akron Bike Club members killed in Brecksville last September."

According to Rhea, last year there were 357 Ride of Silence events in 49 states, 20 countries and seven continents.

The Stow/Hudson Ride of Silence is a silent slow-paced ride beginning and ending at LifeCenter Plus traveling along the city streets of Stow and Hudson.

Visit www.imathlete.com to register for the event and view a map of the route. Type Inaugural Stow/Hudson Ride of Silence in the search box.

Riders may purchase a T-shirt to show support for cyclists that have been killed while cycling.

For more information, contact Rhea at 330-655-2377, ext. 157.

Ride begins at the rear of LifeCenter Plus, 5133 Darrow Road, Hudson at 7 p.m. T-shirt and packet pick-up is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

There will be post ride events at LifeCenter Plus from 8:15 to 9 p.m. which will include a raffle for everyone present and refreshments.

"We're really hoping non-cyclists will come to the post ride event," Rhea said. "This is about bike safety and awareness but it's also about educating the non-cycling motorists about the rules of the road."

Email: dmarkulis@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9436