Sunday, July 31, 2016

You know this means war. #MegsBike

The story of Meg's bike just keeps snowballing.

By now you probably know the back story, and if you don't, most of it is in the link above. Anyway, I have started keeping an eye on the corner of Riverside and Bank, and keeping a box of Crayola sidewalk chalk in my bike panniers. After it rained, I'd stop, usually on my way home from work, and chalk the bike back up. I got a bit creative at times, mixed it up a bit with bike styles, even with the direction the bike was facing (although I found I could only competently draw a bike facing left).

The idea was that I'd keep the chalk bike there, as much as I could, until something was done about the dangerous intersection. To date, three whole years after Meg was killed, nothing has been done to fix the infrastructure problems that led to her death.

But then the bike started disappearing with disturbing regularity. When it hadn't rained.

It poured last Wednesday night. I got caught in it, and drenched crossing the bridge. It was intense. But, I have chalk. So I put the bike back up Thursday night, on my way home from work.

On Friday morning, I rode past it on the way to work. But when I went by Friday evening, it was gone. It hadn't rained. Clearly, someone had come by and washed it off. But, I have chalk.

On Saturday - July 30 - around noon, I headed downtown to meet a friend, and was stopped in my tracks. The bike I had drawn about fourteen hours earlier had been washed away, at some point in the night. But what was in its place brought tears to my eyes.

That last one? It's a little washed out by the sunlight, but it says, "Bless whoever draws the bike." 

So yes. I cried on a street corner. Meg's family came to put the chalk bike back up, on the third anniversary of her death, and they thanked me. No: they blessed me.

So guess how I felt this morning when I saw this. 

Go ahead and guess.

Only the bike has been washed away. Not the hearts, not the other tributes written on the wall. Even the plea, "P. L.On," is still there. Meg's photo is still duct-taped to the wall. It's just the bike. This is the work of someone who, for whatever reason, specifically objects to memorials for people on bikes. Someone so threatened by a drawing of a bike done in white chalk that they find a watering can, fill it full of water, lug it all the way to the bridge, and sluice the chalk off in a fit of self-important rage.

Don't even get me started on the utter insult to Meg's family that this represents. On the eve of the anniversary of their loved one's death, this troglodyte marched down there and washed away the chalk bike. They went down there and drew it again, on the day she died, and actually asked him to leave it up. And the day after the anniversary of the death of their friend, daughter, wife, sister, aunt. . . he went back down there with his pathetic little watering can and his sense of entitlement.

This is someone who feels foot-stampingly righteous about removing even the chalk ghosts of the ghost bike that was once there; this is someone who thinks he "won" some kind of "battle" when the City came and cut the locks on the white bike that had been locked to that rail since August of 2013.

This is someone, in short, up with whom I will not put.

Chalk is cheap, bro. I can do this all day.


  1. All day. Every day. Keep yer stick on the ice.

  2. Prayers for Meg ... I walk by these chalking everyday. I noticed thenrealmbike was gone , a few times I've put flowers up .. always in our prayers

  3. You do great stuff to promote cycling, and challenging the overall lackadaisical attitude to cycling of the City of Ottawa. Remembering cyclists who have been killed due to our lack of appropriate infrastructure and failure to establish a culture supportive of active transportation is commendable. Meg's death was not so much an accident as a completely foreseeable consequence of a long series of political decisions.
    It was particularly good to see you on the front page of Metro yesterday.