GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 26, 2013

Letter: May Gran Prix bring joy in wake of tragic losses


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

This is a busy news week for cycling on the North Shore:

First, we saw two local cyclists and two others injured on Saturday; now, we have the return of the Great Brewers’ Gran Prix Cyclocross Race to Stage Fort Park in Gloucester.

While I did not know either of those who lost their lives in the weekend crash in New Hampshire, my heart is heavy for their friends and families. What started as a lovely morning fund-raising ride turned into a nightmare.

I have thought so much about these women, and that “it could have been me.” Wearing helmets, practicing bike etiquette and using bike lanes is not a guarantee of safety, but they all help. Please drive safely and report dangerous driving. Perhaps this accident could have been prevented.

The sorrow of Saturday’s accident is tempered by the upcoming Gloucester Gran Prix weekend. Our family is hosting two racers from Canada, and we are looking forward to showing off our city and park!

Good weather is forecast, and I encourage anyone who is curious to come check it out. There will be amateur racing on Saturday and Sunday from 8-2, then professional women men will race at 2:30 & 3:30 respectively.

Cyclocross is a spectator-friendly sport. You can see many parts of the race from one vantage point, and the racers pass by the same spot multiple times. There is a festival atmosphere with rowdy fans, costumes, a beer garden and cowbells.

I want to personally invite city councilors, officials, and citizens who are concerned about park usage. Many people care about this facility and are committed to keeping the race in Gloucester.

As a proud Gloucester citizen and cyclist, I am thrilled to be part of this race. Look for me on the course Saturday and Sunday at 10, and bring your cowbells and your megaphones!

Let’s bring some joy to those who have suffered such devastating losses.

HEIDI WAKEMAN

Wise Place, Gloucester