Tonight I rode in my first biker funeral procession.
Curtis Smith, a 53 yr old man I barely knew, died this week while riding his bike. Family and friends gathered inside the funeral home, as the bikes lined up outside. After the service, the procession began. The Radford City Police led the way, followed by the bikes, then the funeral car, the family and other mourners. It was a powerful thing to have a RCP Officer at every intersection, standing at full attention and salute, and to see cars pull over as a sign of respect for the recently deceased. Part of me wishes I’d had a camera other than my cell phone with me. Then again, not focusing on photography for once made me more fully participate in the procession
I’ve ridden in many a long line of bikes before but this one was different. The day was turning to night as we rode along the roads in Snowville to a small country cemetery. The very near miss run in with a deer by one of the bikes, an all too common occurrence in this neck of the woods, added an element of drama to a night that needed no more. No one who rides, motorcycle or bicycle needs a reminder of the risks taken when getting in the saddle, and of course, the result of that risk is what brought us all here this evening.
I would guess that most of the bikers who rode tonight, did not know Curtis well. But each and every one came prepared to ride in the rain, to show this man and his family final respect. I was moved to hear various riders offer support, whether a hug, an expression of sympathy, a cold beer after a long difficult day, or an offer to help with taking care of Curtis’s bike.
I’ve always heard that bikers take care of their own and that surely was evident tonight.
The rain is pouring outside as I write, all safe and warm, inside on my couch. I hope that my fellow riders from this evening are also warm and dry.
Curtis did not make it home this week, but I hope the family takes comfort in knowing that he died doing what he loved. May he rest peacefully now …