Monthly Archives: June 2012

The sad end of ‘Ollie’s Wild Ride’


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.

Ollie Scheideman

But for Scheideman, a bicycle ride across the United States would be the fulfillment of a long-held dream. So he was giving it another try this year. He was riding with an Adventure Cycling Association group, which left Williamsburg, Va., on May 21 bound for Florence, Ore.
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.”

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A stamp of approval


Another small indication of the increasing use of bicycles in the United Stares: The U.S. Postal Service has issued a series of “forever” stamps to celebrate — as the USPS put it – “the American love of bicycling, one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country.”
The inaugural issue of the four stamps took place on Thursday in Minneapolis, which had been ranked No.1 by Bicycling magazine among America’s bike-friendly cities. Ironically, Minneapolis dropped to No. 2, after Portland, Ore., in the latest of Bicycling’s biennial rankings, issued May 21.
USPS art director Phil Jordan designed the stamps using illustrations by San Francisco illustrator John Mattos, said the USPS news release. Each of the four stamps features a different kind of bike and cyclist: a young child learning to ride, a commuter pedaling to work, a road racer intent on the finish line and an airborne BMX rider.
The forever stamps are always equal in value to the current first-class, one-ounce rate.

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