Sperry’s widow Stacia Biltekoff oversaw the reinstallation of the Ghost Bike that acknowledged her husband’s tragic death.

“A soul is like a drop in a vast ocean” Matthew Sperry’s Widow reflects following Ghost Bike Reinstallation

2 mins read

The “Ghost Bike” honoring the life of Matthew Sperry has been reinstalled along Powell Street just across the Oakland border. The new installation coincided with the 21st anniversary of his death.

The original bike was installed in 2003 but disappeared sometime in 2020.

The E’ville Eye published a comprehensive story last year acknowledging twenty years since the tragic event on June 5, 2003 that took Sperry’s life. The story was shared via the New York Times’s annual Local Journalism worth Reading.

Sperry’s wife Stacia Biltekoff expressed the desire to see the bike replaced and The E’ville Eye reached out to our social media followers for donations with several offers received.

The bike we eventually reinstalled was donated by Waterside Workshops at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park.

Other community members chipped in for painting supplies and a flower basket including Berkeley resident Kester Allen. Biltekoff was the doula for Allen and his wife’s first child back in 2007.

“Our family gets around on bicycle a lot, and bicycle safety is very important to us,” Allen noted. “People need more reminders about how important it is to be a safe driver. I was happy to pitch in when I heard it was being redone, and I’m glad it’s back.”

The placard adhered to the frame of the bike includes information about Sperry and a scannable QR code that links to our 2023 story.

Biltekoff and their now adult child met at the site last week to oversee the installation and place fresh flowers in the bike’s basket.

They reflected on Matthew’s life and what has transpired in the two decades that has elapsed. Biltekoff captured her thoughts in a social media post that she provided us to share.

There was a line in one of the grief books for children that I read to my two year old when their dad died that said “a soul is like a drop in a vast ocean.” I remember how gentle and beautiful that concept seemed to me at the time and how death felt so impossible to grasp. How do we understand this mystery of mortality and wrap our heads around this impossible truth that one day everyone we love will be gone?

Today has been 21 years since Matthew died. He’s now been gone three times as long as I knew him – which is a widow math problem that seems unsolvable. 

My kiddo and I went to the spot where he was killed today. We met up with the sweet reporter who, after noticing Matthew’s ghost bike was missing from its spot, remade one. Together we re-installed it. He added a plaque that has a QR code to the article he wrote last year.

We talked a lot about our feelings about this day and neither one of us really knew what we were feeling. Sometimes I think there’s so many feelings that I can’t parse them out and sometimes I feel like there are so many feelings that just don’t have names that work for them. Then I got some good advice to just to be with whatever is there – to allow whatever unnameable undistinguishable feeling to exist. 

That’s what I’m doing now – sitting here looking at the ocean; something bigger than me, bigger than my feelings, bigger than my thoughts, bigger than my understanding, it’s just here – maybe with the one drop that is Matthew’s soul.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. Stacia is such a lovely person and while I did not have the pleasure of knowing Matthew, I know he was as well. Thank you for this.

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