On Community and Loss

50 States Anacostia Pit Stop
Photo: Kevin, Mary, and Dave on the 50 States Ride, 2013.

I was getting ready to go for a run last Sunday morning. I opened up my Strava app and was ready to record when I glanced at my friends’ posts. As I scrolled down, nearly every title had something about a tribute to Dave. Uncomprehending, I didn’t know what these titles were referring to, so I went over to my Twitter feed to get an explanation. I then found out that Dave Salovesh was killed by a speeding driver the Friday before. I sat down in my room and started crying.

I’ve been out of touch with the #BikeDC community for a while. When I moved to DC ten years ago, I was looking for a way to connect with people, and I had found it in bicycling. I participated in almost every WABA ride, did rides organized by friends and as well as by charities, and tried randonneuring. These rides are dutifully recorded here on this blog. I met some fantastic people, which gave rise to the Friday Coffee Club of bicyclists. I was grateful to be part of this group of folks. And yet, I was not feeling good about where I was.

I think I first met Dave at my first 50 States Ride. It seemed like he was at every ride, and he was always very chatty. Over time, we recognized each other, and I always looked forward to seeing him at rides.

Although Dave made no bones about what he thought about things, he was a great listener. He inspired trust. He was one of the first people I had told about being unhappy in DC. I don’t even know why I told him– I no longer remember the details. But he must have asked me, and I must have felt safe enough with him to tell him.

There’s a picture of me that Rootchopper took of me, Dave, and his wife Jean, at a WABA Vasa Ride. I look more pensive than usual for ride photos, and Dave looks like he was intently listening to what I was saying. All I remember now was that I was saying something I hadn’t admitted to before, and I was slightly embarrassed that I had said it out loud and was hoping no else heard. But Dave did, and it was okay.

I moved out of the District in 2013. I lost interest in riding recreationally, and so doing became disconnected from the #BikeDC community. My life outside of biking fell apart and I had a complete breakdown. But I’m still here. And so is the community. And I assumed Dave would always be part of that community too. But now he’s gone.

It is clear that he touched a lot of folks, and even now, he inspires activism within the DC bicyclists. Dave’s death reminds me more of what I have personally lost over the past few years.

There are much better tributes to Dave Salovesh written by Brian, John, and Mary. You should read those.

4 thoughts on “On Community and Loss

  1. .
    I lost track of how many rides we did together. I had completely forgotten about this 50 States Ride until I saw some pictures.

    This is s wonderful tribute to Dave.

    I miss you.

    • We’ve done so many rides together, and I have so many photos of you.
      Thanks for the kind words. I miss you too– I should make my way out to your neck of the woods sometime.

      • I will never forget the time you promised to ride the entire 50 States. We made it to Cathedral Heights and got separated by road construction. Then it started pouring. Kevin and I waited for you and got drenched. We gave up and rode to the finish. There you were. Dry.

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