That means a lot to a few.
Filtering by Category: Matthew
"Matt made us realize our mortality."
Make today a good one and be glad that you're here to cherish it for yourself, those you love and those who love you. Rest In Peace, Matt.
Matt's spirit and life is certainly not embodied by just a bicycle. It was only one facet to a very layered and rich personality. This day, however, we made the most symbolic offer we could. People called people and places and those people called other places and people and everyone got together and/or contributed whatever they could to honor Matt in the best way we all knew how. Everyone gathered at Hamlin park, a short distance away from the accident site. I was given the honor of guiding the trailer that carried Matt's memorial bike. All day was that familiar gray of winter until the sun finally shown itself as it set. It might have been the sun, the company, or both that but it actually felt warmer out there when we began the ride.
There were plenty of potholes and cracks and crevices in the concrete. We steered apprehensively to avoid each new hazard in the road. The trailer bike took lead and the whole group followed as we rode up Damen. It was strange noticing that no cars passed us as we went until I looked back to see the whole group just took the whole lane. No cars honked, no one raised a fuss, it seemed as if the world understood.
Many incredible things happened that day but there was one in particular that I must share.
Imagine that time you look down between your arms and look just beyond your handlebars to see your tire rolling smoothly as it swallows the road right in front of your path. You see no one ahead of you, nor in your peripheral, it's just you and the front of your bicycle in your field of vision. The scene tricks you into believing it's just you and the bicycle while the world is off somewhere else. It's a site we have seen and a place we have been thousands of times when each of us are out there alone on the bike. This time there was an incredible feeling I noticed as I rode and glanced down, retreating to that familiar place. I knew that even though there wasn't anyone in sight, I was not alone. This time I knew that everyone was right there with me. This time I knew Matt was right there with me.
It's a humbling experience meeting Matt's family and friends. They are incredible people that had a sense of understanding, a calm and collective wisdom. It all started with us hoping we could comfort them and, in actuality, they were the strong ones comforting us. As we all assembled at that intersection to set up the bike, Luke, Matt's brother, jumped at the opportunity to help get the bike unfastened and set up. It was only fitting that he was given the key to the final lock that would symbolically anchor Matthew's legacy.
Everyone gathered their thoughts as each of us took in the scene in our own way. Some made rounds to comfort others, some found comfort in their own place, and/or some tried to comprehend the traffic buzzing around us. It was a mass of people trying to make sense of it all.
It was phenomenal seeing so many people there, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. This community comes together in the worst of times to bring out the best we can, in the best way we know how. It's a comfort to know that, even though it might seem as such, we are not alone in what we do. The decisions we make and their outcomes affect us all. Matt's family and friends allowed us to show them how much we care. It was an honor to be a part of it, I hope they can now see how much this has touched us and I hope they know our hearts are with them.
Matt loved cycling. It was apparent seeing his face and name at our rides over and over. Like many, I never had the honor of knowing Matt as a writer, chef, student, family member or old friend. Instead, I was one of the many that knew him as a cyclist. It was a common bond so many of us share. We hardly know what everyone else's lives entail outside of cycling but it's this incredible passion that brings us together and helps us to share our lives. Matt was so amazing for coming out to ride. He was a mystery to most of us because he came out to do what he loved, he would even whoop on us quite a bit, but then would return to his other routines without a peep. God I hate this news. Up until now, the worst day of ever having to get back on the bike was the day after finding out about Ryan Boudreau's fatal accident. It's become a horrifyingly familiar feeling. It's an instinctive reaction to feel some responsibility and be overcome with guilt. Damn me for ever picking up a bicycle and damn me for even thinking of riding a bicycle ever again. Why do I promote these things? Why do I ride like that? Why wasn't I there? Why couldn't I do something? Why do I do this? Jesus, it could have been me!
It feels disrespectful and disgusting to consider getting back into the very thing that Matt had given his life to enjoy. Not only that, think of the consciences of the truck driver that took Ryan's life last year and the conscience of the driver of that SUV from that morning being forever haunted by these horrible experiences. Above all, his poor family and friends are left to grieve over an all too sudden loss.
Had anyone known that the tragedy of Matthew Manger-Lynch's death was going to happen, there isn't a soul on this earth that would have done what they planned on doing today. Life can be so fragile, I am often afraid to ever live it. The one time you forget your seatbelt. The one time you eat the wrong thing. The one time you forget your medicine. The one time you cross the street. The one time you forget to say goodbye. It's not fair how easily something this precious can be taken from us.
You cannot stop living the life you love and doing the things that make you happy. Sure, you can change the way you do something, but there will always be a possible moment you slip up and luck will either carry you through or it won't. The only certain thing is this moment you have to contact those important to you and let them know that.
It's not disrespectful to get back on that bike and do the things that make you and others happy. I would think it's disrespectful to witness something like this and not see the opportunities life has given you. This has given you a reminder to get a hold of those important to you. It has given you a reminder to let your family know you love them, let your friends know you're grateful for them, let your world be a little bit better because you have the opportunity to do so.
Matt has not gone in vain. He will make all of us better at enjoying life and the things we truly love. Let's return the favor by letting those we love know it and helping those who have lost the great gift of Matthew Manger-Lynch to make it through these hardest of times...
Here's CBS 2's report: http://cbs2chicago.com/local/cyclist.killed.crash.2.661587.html
Family Night: please come over to my place tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 26th). This will be in part a place for those who were there during Tour de Chicago this Sunday. It will be a place for us to grieve over the death of Matt Lynch and cope with the shock and aftermath of such a horrible event. It will also be a place to share the positive moments of the race, and remember that Matt was at the head of the pack, winning the race when he passed away.
Please to those who were not there on Sunday, we need you as well. Shoulders to lean on, experience with tragedies past and how you got through them.
I will have a pot of [nearly] vegan chili hot on the stove [it has an accidental splash of chicken broth and a bit of butter in it]. It should be enough to feed about 20 or so. If there's anything else folks would like to be eating please bring it along.
2438 N. Lawndale Ave [1/2 block n. of fullerton, 2 blocks west of central park] 3rd floor lock your bikes to the fence downstairs
Thank you Luke for finding and providing this information so quickly. From his obituary...
Visitation will take place on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 7845 North River Road in River Hills, from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM. A service in celebration of Matt's life will follow at the church at 4:00 PM. Interment will be private. In Matt's memory, memorials may be made to the YMCA Camp Manito-wish, Box 246, Boulder Junction, WI 54512, or to the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, 9 W. Hubbard ST, Suite 402, Chicago, IL 60610-6545. FEERICK FUNERAL HOME Shorewood (414) 962-8383 Condolences may be sent to: www.feerickfuneralhome.com