Even as most of the country is in a frigid grasp, training is underway for those planning to participate in the annual National EMS Memorial Bike Ride.
There are four routes this year from various parts of the country. But all riders have the same purpose -- to honor EMS personnel who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities, and to educate the public about the EMS profession.
Two rides will begin May 14 -- one leaving from Boston, the other from Kentucky. Both will end in Alexandria, Va. on May 21 where a service is being planned.
Those routes are as follows:
EMS Memorial Bike Ride Routes: May 14-21, 2011
East Coast Ride: Boston, MA to Washington, DC
- Day 1: Boston, MA to South Kingstown, RI
- Day 2: South Kingstown, RI to Riverhead, NY (Long Island)
- Day 3: Riverhead, NY to Westbury/Garden City, NY
- Day 4: Westbury, NY--ride through NYC--Transport to Bangor, PA
- Day 5: Bangor, PA to Ephrata, PA
- Day 6: Ephrata, PA to Gettysburg, PA
- Day 7: Gettysburg, PA, to Washington, DC--Join with KY
- Day 8: Ending Ceremony/Celebration-Westin Alexandria, VA
Kentucky Ride: Paintsville, KY to Washington, DC
- Day 1: Paintsville, KY, to Norton, VA
- Day 2: Norton, VA, to Richlands, VA
- Day 3: Richlands, VA, to Princeton, WV
- Day 4: Princeton, WV, to Roanoke, VA
- Day 5: Roanoke, VA, to Staunton, VA
- Day 6: Staunton, VA, to Front Royal, VA
- Day 7: Front Royal, VA, to DC--join with northern route
- Day 8: Celebration Day: EMS Recognition Event and Celebration!
Regarding the joint event at the end of these two rides, "It is coming together. It will be held at the Westin, the same hotel as last year. Speakers are being lined up," said Jennifer Frenette, president.
Frenette said the Virginia gathering is different from the annual National EMS Memorial Service scheduled for June in Colorado Springs.
On June 22, riders will leave Laramie, Wyo. and pedal their way to Colorado Springs to attend the 19th annual memorial service set for June 25 at the First Presbyterian Church.
Providers who died in the line of duty in 2010 will be honored during the ceremony. Families of the fallen will be hosted at a variety of events.
Also, a one-day bike ride is set for Sept. 24 in Louisiana.
Specific routes for the Colorado and Louisiana rides were still being worked out by ride coordinators.
With gas prices increasing, registration fees have been increased this year, Frenette noted.
In addition to gas and maintenance, the fees pay for insurance, signage and rest stop expenses.
She is optimistic that the annual ride will attract many riders despite the increased fee.
Bicyclists also are asked to raise $250 for the Fallen Angels Fund that goes to assist the families of EMS heroes.
"Things are coming together," she said. "There are a lot of things to work out. A lot of people are stepping up to plate."