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Critical Mass ride to pay tribute to cyclist tonight

  • Robert "Bobby" Cann (left in red jacket) and Philip Bird (right in black jacket) participate in the annual Ride of Silence in 2011.
Robert "Bobby" Cann (left in red jacket) and Philip Bird (right… (Courtesy of Philip Bird )
May 31, 2013|Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

Cyclists on Friday's Critical Mass ride will honor Robert "Bobby" Cann, who was riding his bicycle when he hit by a car and killed this week.

The ride, which occurs on the last Friday of every month with a swarm of cyclists, will be routed to stop at the site of the crash at Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street, according to a map of the route.

Cann, 26, was riding in the 1300 block of North Clybourn Avenue in Old Town at about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday when a Mercedes sedan hit him, according to the Tribune. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Philip Bird asked Critical Mass organizers if the bike ride, which starts 5:30 p.m. Friday from Daley Plaza, could pay tribute to Cann. Within hours, it was a done deal, Bird said.

"Bobby was my best friend. I could count on him to always ride. We always said he lived on his bike," said Bird, 29. "And he died on his bike. He died doing what he loved."

Cann participated in the monthly rides rain or shine and two weeks ago did the annual Ride of Silence, which honors cyclists killed and injured, Bird said. He said he plans to place a "ghost bike," a bicycle painted white that serves as a memorial for fallen cyclists, at the crash site in the future.

Bird remembered Cann as a cycling advocate.

"He taught me how to ride better and safer. I, at the time, didn’t always wear a helmet. He was adamant about me wearing a helmet. He would get mad," he said.

Bird, who met Cann four years ago and worked with him at REI, and friends helped set up a memorial with candles and flowers Thursday at the crash site. He was nervous and fearful riding to the site.

"If it can happen to Bobby, it can happen to us," Bird said.


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