In the last weeks of May, 2013, I took part in the East Coast route of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride. The riders, know as Muddy Angels, rode from Augusta, Maine to Collingdale, Pennsylvania in seven days and were made up of EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and physicians. We rode in the memory of those emergency medical personnel who have died in the previous year while serving their communities.
This year we had riders from across the United States and also welcomed our Northern brethren from Ottawa Paramedics in Canada. The group was a healthy mix of seasoned riders of the event (this is the sixth year of the bike ride) and those like me who were participating for the first time.
There are several rides throughout the year in various parts of the country and at different times. For information on upcoming rides, visit the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride Association’s website at http://www.muddyangels.com/.
While preparing for the ride, I had several requests from friends to post updates and pictures online. What started as a few sentences and images at the end of the day has grown into an extensive write up of my experiences during the ride. The resulting work has become both a way to record and remember the event and for me to process some of the significance this ride has had in my life.
As a physical endurance event, the ride exceeded any of my prior experiences. More than that though, the act of living a memorial event for days on end, and seeing the sadness of loss and the coming together of friends and strangers to comfort was at times overwhelming. At times, the combination of the physical and emotional intensity bordered on the surreal.
As with my work as a paramedic and rescue technician, there is sometimes a need to slowly process the things you experience so that they don’t overwhelm you. In writing about this ride I’ve had the opportunity to revisit the events of that week and examine them more deeply. The articles below give you a glimpse into the experience. They discuss locations and logistics, challenges and victories, and relationships of all sorts. There are also things not included. Sometimes this is out of respect for other people’s privacy and sometimes it’s simply because I’ve chosen not to include it here at this time.
What is here however is a record and a representation of an event which holds a significance in my life. My hope is that you read this and it inspires you to take hold of that adventure in your own life, whatever that might be.
- Muddy Angels: An Introduction
- Muddy Angels: Preparation and Logistics
- Muddy Angels Day 1: Augusta to Portland
- Muddy Angels Day 2: Portland to Manchester
- Muddy Angels Day 3: Manchester to Worcester
- Muddy Angels Day 4: Worcester to Waterbury
- Muddy Angels Day 5: Waterbury to New York
- Muddy Angels Day 6: New York to East Bunswick
- Muddy Angels Day 7: East Brunswick to Collingdale
- Muddy Angels on YouTube: Music and Slideshows of the Event
- The Ducks Of Sandy Hook Elementary: A Tribute to Newtown
- Semper Memoria: Always Remember – The Reason we Ride
- The Giving: Giving Back to the Community in the Name of Those We’ve Lost