I never met Ollie Scheideman. But I admire his spirit and his tenacity. And I’m sorry that he’s no longer with us.
In 2009, the retired dentist from Chico, in northern California, was several weeks into an 82-day cross-country bicycle ride when he crashed on a downhill descent near Rosedale, Va., according to a June 16, 2009, article in the Appeal-Democrat, a newspaper near Scheideman’s hometown.
He spent 12 days in a trauma center for 10 broken ribs, a concussion and a separated right shoulder.
On June 4, the group was traveling along Kentucky 3445 near Gray Hawk, in Jackson County. Scheideman “sped ahead of the others and crested a hill … when he likely suffered a heart attack that caused him to fall and damage two vertebrae at the base of the neck,” the Chico Enterprise-Record reported.
Scheideman was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in London, Ky., and then flown to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, where he remained unconscious for three days until he died on June 7 of complications from spinal fractures, said Miles White, chief deputy coroner of Fayette County.
Scheideman, 71, had been a dentist in Yuba City, Calif., for four decades before retiring around 2007.
He had been chronicling his latest effort to bicycle across the United States in a blog called “Ollie’s Wild Ride.” His last post, on June 2, was about a 51-mile ride through a coal-mining area of eastern Kentucky.
The motto on his blog profile is: “Eat, live, love, ride, and give back.” Perhaps another motto, on a “Welcome to Kentucky” sign in a photo from Scheideman’s blog, best sums up his attitude toward life: “Unbridled spirit.”