The Tucson Bike Church Sanctuary is a place where relatives and friends of bicyclists killed on the streets of our town can come to remember them, and even leave notes and mementos. It’s made, as you can see, of bicycle parts. Although I didn’t see the panels, I’m told it’s lighted at night by solar energy collected during the day.
There are a lot of ghost bikes around town, but they’re located at the spots where bicyclists were killed, on busy streets and corners where you wouldn’t want to stop and linger. The sanctuary sits on a quiet corner in the Barrio Anita near downtown Tucson, on a triangular corner lot that will someday be a nicely landscaped mini-park. Pima County, perhaps mindful of the bicycling community’s anger after it cancelled an earlier project to build a memorial park and trailhead for bicyclists, gave the sanctuary its support, even providing the city-owned land it sits upon.
That cancelled project? Two years ago the Brad Fund, a charity founded by the family of Brad Gorman — a bicyclist run over and killed on Catalina Highway — wanted to build a memorial park and bicycle trailhead in our neighborhood. The project, initially approved by Pima County, was later shot down. If you’re interested, you can read the post I wrote then, railing at our asshole neighbors and chickenshit politicians.
Before the memorial park was cancelled, the Brad Fund solicited $50 donations from bicyclists and bicycling clubs. For your $50, you’d get a paving stone with you or your club’s name engraved on it, to be installed at the memorial. Our little Saturday morning riding group, the Old Spanish Trail Trash, donated to the fund.
About a year after the memorial park was shot down, the Brad Fund announced it was throwing in with the groups building the sanctuary, telling us our paving stones would be installed there instead.
I was out doing errands today, so I rode by and photographed the sanctuary. I wanted to take a photo of our engraved paving stone, but none have been installed yet … perhaps they’re waiting until the landscaping is done. Now that I know where the sanctuary is, I’ll drop by from time to time. I think it’s a lovely idea, and I hope Tucson’s bicycling community supports it.
© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.