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Fallen Cyclists Blaine Klingenberg and Lisa Kuivinen Honored This Weekend

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 2.11.53 PM
Blaine Klingenberg and Lisa Kuivinen.

This weekend’s Cuttin Crew Classic racing series will be held in honor of fallen courier Blaine “Beezy” Klingenberg, 29, fatally struck by a double-decker tour bus driver at Oak and Michigan on June 15. And this Saturday there will be a group ride from the finish line to Milwaukee and Racine, where a Ghost Bike memorial will be installed as a tribute to art student Lisa Kuivinen, 20, struck and killed by a flatbed truck driver at the intersection on August 16.

Officially called Cuttin Crew Classic 2k16: RYB! (for the hashtag #RideYoBike or #RideYourBike), the series features messenger-style races and parties, including the annual Messenger Prom. Proceeds from the weekend will benefit Klingenberg’s family and loved ones.

“Once again we gather in the streets of Chicago to celebrate our love for riding our bikes in this massive metropolis,” reads the Facebook event. “This Labor Day weekend we will ride, race, and celebrate in honor of our fallen friend, Blaine. Beezy. 130 [Klingenberg's courier number]. He reminded us how wonderful life is when you Ride Your Bike. This one is for you Beezy.”

The main race of the weekend finishes at Eckhardt Park, Chicago Avenue and Noble, on Saturday at 3 p.m. Around 3:45 there will be a group ride to the memorial ceremony for Kuivinen, according to one of the race organizers.

The ghost bike installation will take place at 4 p.m. near the Milwaukee/Racine crash site, where flowers and messages have already been left to honor Kuivinen. According to organizer Kristen Green, who volunteers with Chicago’s Ride of Silence memorial for crash victims and survivors, as well as the South Chicago Velodrome Association, participants should bring “bring candles, flowers, balloons, and good vibes.” Family, friends and colleagues have described Kuivinen as being passionate about making art, playing music, swimming, and dancing.

Green recently posted a photo of herself and another volunteer painting a bike that was donated by a member of the Chicago Bike Selling Message Board to be used as Kuivinen's ghost bike.

Green helped organize a ghost bike ceremony for Divvy rider Virginia Murray, who was also fatally struck by a flatbed truck driver on July 1 at Belmont and Sacramento. As with that event, the Kuivinen memorial is expected to draw a large crowd of family members, friends, and people who didn’t know the victim but identify with the case because they ride bikes on our city’s often-dangerous streets.

As such, DNAinfo reported that the organizers of the Kuivinen memorial have reached out to 27th Ward alderman Walter Burnett to coordinate. Green also posted that Chicago Police Department’s 12th District will provide officers at the event to manage traffic in case the crowd spills onto the street, as it did with the ceremony for Murray.

On Sunday, racers from the Cuttin Crew Classic will hold a barbecue at 31st Street Beach in honor of Klingenberg. The Facebook post for the event notes the courier was on his way to meet up with friends at Oak Street Beach when he was struck.

Along with Klingenberg, Murray, and Kuivinen, Garfield Park resident Francisco “Frank” Cruz, 58, was one of the four people fatally struck by commercial vehicle drivers while biking in Chicago within a roughly two-month period this summer. On August 17 at around 10:15 p.m. Cruz was biking at Maypole and Pulaski when he was struck by a cargo van driver who fled the scene. As of this afternoon, the motorist had still not been apprehended, according to Police News Affairs, despite the fact that the van had a company name and phone number on the back.

Update 9/1/16 7:00 p.m.: After publication of this post, the finish line for the Cuttin Crew Classic was moved from Union Park to Eckhardt Park. The post has been edited accordingly.

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