When Davis resident Eric Grider leaves New York City on his bicycle next May, he will be riding in memory of two friends who lost their lives while working as paramedics for the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service in 2002.


When Davis resident Eric Grider leaves New York City on his bicycle next May, he will be riding in memory of two friends who lost their lives while working as paramedics for the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service in 2002.


Grider and fellow RN paramedic David Seng of Norman will join other cyclists from around the country for the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, which winds from New York through Washington, D.C., to Roanoke, Va. The riders will pedal more than 600 miles over seven days in honor of all emergency medical professionals who were either injured or died in the line of duty.


The ride will end May 22 with a memorial service in Roanoke. Grider and Seng will be the first Oklahomans to participate in the event.


Grider said Team 3022 will be riding on behalf of paramedics Shane Gilmore and Shawn Skelly and emergency medical technician Janez Case, of Clayton. Gilmore and Skelly were assisting an accident victim in the back of an ambulance when they were hit by a vehicle that had skidded out of control. The collision also killed the patient they were helping.


“Thirty and 22 were Shane and Shawn’s medic numbers, respectively,” Grider said.


Grider is an emergency room nurse at Normal Regional Hospital and a part-time flight nurse/paramedic with EagleMed air ambulance service in Ardmore. He is not one to shy away from challenges, especially when cycling is involved. He has ridden in the grueling Livestrong Challenge in the Texas hill country and the Hotter Than Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, Texas.


However, covering 600-plus miles hunched over the handlebars of a bicycle over the course of a single week is something he has never attempted.


“The most I’ve ever ridden is 200 miles in a week,” he said. “It’s going to be new experience for me.”


The 29 year old said he has already started training for the event, riding alone in the Arbuckles and with members of the Ardmore Cycling Club and the Foss1l  Racing Team.


“Even with the motivation for the ride, it can still be difficult to find the will to train when the temperature is in the 30s and 40s and the wind is blowing 20 miles an hour,” he said.
Grider and Seng are accepting donations and sponsorships for the ride.


“Funds raised go directly to the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride fund and are tax deductible,” Grider said. “The funds will go to assist family members of our fallen comrades, with a portion of the proceeds sent back to Team 3022 to help offset expenses for the ride.”


Donations may be sent to Team 3022, P.O. Box 362, Davis, OK 73030. Checks should be made out to the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride. Additional information on Team 3022 is available at www.2009oklahomaemsmemorialbikeride.blogspot.com.


Steve Biehn, 221-6546
steve.biehn@ardmoreite.com