Celebrating a Life, Reflecting on Our Actions

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On Sunday, August 3, 2014 Irving Schachter, longtime New York Cycle Club member and ride leader, went to Central Park for his long, slow run of the week. Training for the 2014 Marathon he tried to finish three runs each week: long, slow; tempo, and short intervals.

Around 5 pm a 17 year old boy swerved out of the cyclist’s lane at speed, veered into the pedestrian lane and collided with Irv.  A moment was all it took to end a life that was still flush with aces in terms of athletic accomplishment.

I write this piece to celebrate Irv’s cycling life. I write it to reminisce about the rides he led for the NYCC up Mohonk and Minnewaska. I write it to celebrate the rides he led up Peekamoose and around Ashokan Reservoir, up Whipporwill and Roaring Brook Road…always up and over. I write it to reminisce about the rides we took a deux, as husband and wife. With which other A rider could I ever travel over Mohonk and Minnewaska or even up Perkins?

But this short message also should remind folks of the cyclist’s dual nature. Many of us see cyclists as potential victims of cars. And we are. The city still needs to do much more to secure our safety on Manhattan’s streets.  To that end we should support the many Transportation Alternative campaigns.

But we are also potential predators. One careless move on a bike and we can take down a runner, a walker, a child skipping along.  As we want car drivers to be alert to our rights, so too we must act to protect the rights of other people.

Almost a week after Irving’s accident I walked through Central Park and saw many cyclists in the runner’s lane. To one I called, “You’re in the runner’s lane.” He replied “yes, I know,” and rode away. Would he like a car driver to give that answer while he veered his car into the bike lane? We need our rights. We also we need to accept our responsibilities.

I have been heartened by the messages about Irv on the web. He loved cycling and I’m glad that so many cylists enjoyed riding with him.

Hindy Schachter


cycling trips