Local cycling club organizes ‘ghost ride’ to honour Patrick Lynch

Sunday’s ghost ride starts at 2 p.m at Bayridge Secondary School; the walk begins at Bayview Optometry, 1260 Carmol Boulevard. Image via Kingston Velo Club.

This Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, members of the Kingston Velo Club (KVC) will be gathering to honour one of their own by participating in a special ghost bike ride. The event, set for Sunday at 2 p.m., is in honour of the late Patrick Lynch, a retired psychologist, educator, and avid cyclist who was tragically killed on November 12 following a collision with a motor vehicle.

According to KVC President Carole Russell, the last couple of weeks have been an incredibly difficult time for the club and its members.

“It’s been extremely tragic and traumatic for us. The Kingston Velo Club has been operating for 61 [years], and we have never experienced anything remotely close to this,” said Russell. “Patrick has been a member of our club for many, many years. He was one of those people who was just really solid and reliable. If you needed help, Patrick was there.”

Russell added that Lynch was instrumental in bringing new members to the club, noting, “he was one of our best folks for seeking out new members and welcoming them and making them feel comfortable… He was such a great ambassador for cycling.”

To pay tribute to Lynch’s legacy and to raise awareness for cycling safety throughout the city, members of the community are invited to take part in this weekend’s event, which features the ghost bike ride and a walking option.

Cyclists will meet at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Bayridge Secondary School (1059 Taylor-Kidd Boulevard) before the ride begins at 2:15 p.m.

The procession will be led by a “ghost bike” in honour of Lynch, which will be towed in a cart by one of the club’s cyclists. According to Russell, ghost bikes are used to pay tribute to those who have lost their life or been seriously injured while biking. Those locally may recall a ghost bike memorial being created in 2018 following the death of Jeff Vervaeke, who passed away at 43 after being struck by a vehicle in Amherstivew while participating in the 7 Days in May charity bike ride

“A ghost bike is a bike that is painted white… usually without the seat… It is really meant to pay tribute [to] or honour a cyclist who will never be able to ride again,” Russell expressed.

Sunday’s ride will travel a route of approximately two kilometres from Bayridge Secondary School along Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, before arriving at the ghost bike’s final resting place, which will be located west of Collins Bay Road where Lynch was struck by a vehicle on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. A police escort will lead the procession through all stoplights. There will also be a police officer at the rear of the procession.

According to organizers, police officers will stay with the procession while the ghost bike is secured in place and will accompany cyclists as they return to Bayridge Secondary. Those interested in taking part in the bike ride are encouraged to have red flashing lights at the rear of their bike. All participants must wear a helmet.

For those who are unable to take part in the cycling portion of the event, organizers have included a walking option, as well. Walkers will meet at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Bayview Optometry (1260 Carmil Boulevard). They will proceed from the southeast corner of Collins Bay Road, crossing to the southwest corner and then proceeding west on Taylor-Kidd Boulevard to the site where the ghost bike will be positioned. The walk will be approximately one kilometre, as walkers stick to the gravel shoulder on Taylor-Kidd Boulevard.

Despite a questionable weather forecast for Sunday, Russell said she is optimistic the club will have a good turnout.

“There are going to be people who would find it difficult,” she acknowledged, “and there are people who have already put their bikes away for the winter. But nevertheless, we felt that… [Lynch] has touched so many people [and] we think, in spite of the conditions on Sunday and the time of year, we’ll still get a reasonably strong turnout.”

To ensure Sunday’s event runs smoothly, organizers are looking for additional volunteers to serve as route marshals. Those interested in assisting as a marshal are asked to contact KVC member Nico Barbe at (613) 572-0795.

Following Sunday’s ghost ride, participants are invited to gather at the Tir Nan Og pub (200 Ontario Street) to raise a glass in Lynch’s honour.

Additional information on the ghost ride is available on the KVC website.

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