Film by: Aleutian Calabay calabayproductions
Music Credit: The Pines
Yesterday, April 27th, I joined over a hundred cyclists in a memorial ride for Audrey Hull.
Audrey Hull was killed by a truck on April 21st at 15th Ave. SE and 4th St. in Dinkytown, by the McDonalds. I did not know Audrey personally, but by all accounts she seemed like a spunky, smart, beautiful person that will be missed very much.
A ghost bike has been placed on the spot as a memorial, and also as a reminder to be extra vigilant at that busy intersection. Her friends and family have left tributes to her at the spot, and it is really touching to go and see the happy kitty cards and playful photo of Audrey near the spot where she died.
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Photos by Mike Jones
I’ve been in a funk ever since I found out about Audrey’s death. I’ve been taking less risks and riding with more trepidation. And I’ve been sad.
I didn’t start to feel better until yesterday, when I was stopped on 15th and saw about 30 bikers with white arm bands pass me. My heart swelled when I saw Lee leading a group of chemistry students from the U, and I genuinely smiled when I saw strangers that recognized they were all there for the memorial ride give head nods and say hi to each other as they rode to Van Cleve Park together. Knowing we were all there because we care about each other was very uplifting. I hope that Audrey’s friends and family felt the same positivity from the outpouring of support and love that I did, and can begin to heal.
When I got to Van Cleve Park there were quite a few riders assembled. There were cameras and a few respectful news people that made the whole thing feel a little bit like a spectacle, but it was still a very respectful space. I was in a weird mood and didn’t really socialize with people or introduce myself to anyone new. My heart was still feeling heavy, despite the supportive crowd.
Kyle Torfin, the cyclist that organized the memorial ride, was the first to speak. He thanked everyone for coming, laid out the route, and reminded us that we were not a “critical mass” and that we should obey all traffic laws and ride marshals.
Audrey’s father, Harry Hull, stood up and spoke to us with a wavering voice, and thanked everyone for coming. If you get a chance, watch the video in this post, and listen to him speak. He doesn’t speak for very long, but he says so much. I was really choked up and I kept thinking about how much I love my dad… I was glad to be surrounded by friends.
The ride was well organized and marshaled and the riders trickled out of the park in a mostly silent mass. There were a few Minneapolis Police officers on bicycles riding with us, and it was obvious that Kyle Torfin coordinated with the police as well as with the family and advocacy groups. There were even some free blinky lights being handed out, along with Share the Road cards. We circled the route, passing friends and family (some were wearing cat ears!) standing near the ghost bike. We dinged our bells at them and they waved as we passed.
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Photos by Eric Shoultz
Riding in the group people started to open up a little more, and the ride was less silent. We got supportive honks from passing cars, people along the street encouraged us, and it was a really positive experience. Throughout the ride I worked up the nerve to ask a few people, “Why are you riding today?”
“I normally don’t like to emphasize the negative aspects of biking, so I had to think about why I wanted to come out and ride. In the end, I saw that Audrey’s family wanted this ride to happen, so I came out.”
“It could have been me.”
“I am a friend of Kyle Torfin’s, and I am a cyclist.”
“I’m a U of M student. He’s a U of M student. We ride that stretch of road every day.”
“I hope this is the last memorial ride that we have to do this year. No more deaths!”
“Weddings and funerals tend to bring us all together. It’s good to see that people care enough to come out and ride.”
“I’m here to show some bike solidarity. We are all in this together.”
“I’m here because that could be any one of us. If something ever happens to me I would want all of my friends and family to come out here and support me like this.”
“This is our community and when one of us is killed it affects us all.”
“I first heard about Audrey’s death when a friend called because I matched the description of a ’25 year old Asian female’ that was killed while riding her bike, and they wanted to make sure I was still alive. It could have easily been me.”
The last quote is mine.