Ghost Bike @ Ridge & Girard

“Oh, We close our eyes, The perfect life is all we need.” – Moby

I set out on my beater bike and cycle around town shooting pictures of things that grab my interest. The photos pile up in my library and when I sit to view them, maybe a week or month later, themes I never imagined appear that I will use for Cityscapes in the Schuylkill Valley Journal,

One such theme is a collection of bikes I’ve accumulated, many chained to poles, trees, and, believe it or not, artistically designed bicycle racks. I even have a shot of a unicycle chained to a traffic sign.

But the bike that pushed me over the edge was a Ghost Bike chained to a traffic signal pole at Girard and Ridge Avenues.

Ghost Bike memorializing 26-year-old filmmaker Jay Mohan struck and killed at Ridge & Girard Avenues in Philadelphia on May 10, 2015.

Ghost Bike memorializing 26-year-old filmmaker Jay Mohan struck and killed at Ridge & Girard Avenues in Philadelphia on May 10, 2015.

I steered to the curb, dismounted, and read the note attached to the bike:

Vijay Krishna Mohan

Vibrant Spirit

Goofball

Visionary

Educator

Activist

Friend

Justice-seeker

Generous Community Member

Filmmaker

Lover

Brother

Greatest rapper of all time

Born September 2, 1988

Died May 10th, 2015 after being hit by a car.

Jay Mohan had gone to the movies that night to see While We Were Young with his girlfriend. She took a cab home and he pedaled down Ridge Avenue toward Brewerytown where he lived when he was struck by a 1993 Buick shortly after midnight. He was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital a short time later.

The intersection at Ridge and Girard Avenues is along one of the morning routes I used to run with my friends at Back on My Feet. I stood on the path where the vibrant young filmmaker’s life ended, closed my eyes, and offered a prayer; then I thought about the beautiful testimonial on the paper attached to the Ghost Bike, saddled back up and continued on my way, humming Moby’s The Perfect Life, and keeping the beat with each successive stroke of the pedals.IMG_0049_2

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Art of Running, Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Ghost Bike @ Ridge & Girard

  1. Amazing incentive, wish something like this was happening in my city – if cyclist accident happens soon, I promise to do such a thing. Thanks for the article, keep up the awesome blog!

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  2. LB says:

    Oh my gosh, that previous comment makes me angry.
    We put up a Ghost Bike every year for the Annual Ride of Silence in our city (not sure you’ve seen my post – http://lifeonthebikeandotherfabthings.com/2014/05/23/ride-of-silence-2014/ ) and I cannot imagine someone stealing it!
    Thank you for this post, Jim.

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      I loved your post on the Ride for Silence so much I reflagged it. Thank you for sponsoring this caring event to honor fallen cyclists, LB. You are a true humanitarian. Regarding the small people who would steal a Ghost Bike, I file that in the “Get a Life” category.

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  3. jmsabbagh says:

    Heartfelt post.

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  4. Sophie33 says:

    What a sad story indeed. But I think it is great that his friends, family made this short tribute to him, very original too! x

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  5. runner500 says:

    A depressing tale – cyclist deaths are a major issue here in London, there have been two or three in the last fortnight. Oddly, I was thinking about cycling and Philadelphia yesterday evening – I was listening to Melody Gardot https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melody_Gardot I have found her recovery very inspiring in terms of my own over the last few months.

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  6. aaronwest says:

    That is a sad story. We actually have three ghost bikes in my town. One was from an accident that I happened to witness before I was a cyclist. That one is in a populated area of town and the bike has been stolen several times, so eventually they had to remove it.

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