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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6 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys, Travels

6 responses to “The sad end of ‘Ollie’s Wild Ride’

  1. mark

    I, for one, celebrate Ollie. The very attempt to live his life fully, to live his dream completely, was undoubtedly more satisfied than the rest of us who linger, fearfully or lazily, in our imagination.

  2. John Vandevelde

    Ride on Ollie! You did what Thoreau urged, “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live,” and avoided what Twain warned of, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

  3. Godspeed, Ollie. You died doing what you loved, and that is to be admired.

  4. Sad, but wonderful too. We should all be so fortunate as to live our dreams and when the end comes, let it be doing what we love.

  5. Gordon

    I knew Ollie for 55 of his 71 years. He joined my 70th birthday celebration 4 days before leaving on this “bucket list” trip accross the USA. He lived his whole life with the same enthusiasm as he did in making this trip. Farewell friend.

  6. Pingback: Velo Hobo Not-So Weekly Reader: My Monkey Mind « The Velo Hobo

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