KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A KC biking group joined together Friday night to ride in honor of a well-known local cyclist seriously injured on Christmas Eve.
Critical Mass is a monthly bike ride on the last Friday of the month. Dozens to hundreds come out to enjoy the evening with other cyclists around the city and ride on the streets en mass.
Pablo Sanders Jr. has always been one of those riders, until this month.
People who've met Sanders said it's easy to take notice of how much he loves and cares for others -- and wants to see them ride.
"Everybody knows Pablo, and I remember saying that to him," longtime friend Brandon Cornwell said. "Everybody knows you! He's like yeah, I'm out here on my bike."
Anyone who comes across Sanders will probably tell you they met him on his bike.
The cyclist was hit by a car around midnight on Christmas Eve. He was riding north on SW Trafficway near Valentine at the time and suffered serious injuries. Police said the driver was not under the influence and stayed on the scene.
"I saw him Monday night. We hung out at his apartment, and he had the new bike. He had a helmet. He had his lights," Cornwell said.
Sanders is now recovering in the hospital and won't be able to attend December's Critical Mass event.
"Critical Mass is what we do on the last Friday of every month, and he is the biggest champion of that," Cornwell said. "That itself is just a taste of why we do what we do. Getting out on the bike and just spreading joy."
Pablo goes every month, and that's where lawyer Shawn Lee got to see him as a leader in the group.
"He would stop in the middle of the intersections and block traffic if there were some people in the middle of the ride, if we were losing people so they're safe," Lee said.
Lee and his 12-year-old daughter, Regan, are riding this month to support him.
"To show him that we're kind of still doing it without him even though he's in the hospital," Regan said.
They all hope when he gets better, he'll be able to see how loved and appreciated he is in the cycling community.
"I just want to see him wake up. I just want to see him smile," Cornwell said. "I don't even care if he rides again. I know he wants to ride. That's what -- as I looked at him last night, all I could think about was him dreaming about riding."
If you are able to help Sander's family in this time of need, you can learn more here.