Kenneth Baucum, KG5CBM, led a small group of radio operators and volunteers in supporting Oklahoma Freewheel, a cross-state bicycle tour. This year, Freewheel started in Hollis, Oklahoma and finished in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Bicyclists completed a tour of about 500 miles in 7 days, starting with a short loop to two state lines from Hollis, OK on June 6th, completing an average of 65 miles each day, and finishing with a 40 mile ride across the state line into Fort Smith, AR.
Volunteers who helped support the riders as SAG Support Drivers included Fred Williams KD5NBR, Annette Williams KE5EHV, Keith Sheets KG5ATU and Jack Moore KC5DPQ. Some of the radio operators supporting this event are also ARES Volunteers, and most are very active in their communities in other ways, as well.
SAG Support Driver responsibilities included carrying water to replenish rest stops and rider water bottles on route, as well as having spare tubes and tire pumps on hand to fix flats. Cyclists would request support by flagging down a support vehicle, or calling the support number. The support number was answered by Kenneth, who would in turn relay the message about any needs to the driver nearest the incident.
Common issues included flat tires, slipped chains and shifters needing adjustment. A few calls for medical support were handled by providing first aid, water and shade or air conditioning for riders in distress.
Oklahoma Freewheel is especially thankful for the availability and support of local radio clubs, and for the use of their repeaters. Oklahoma Freewheel and our amateur radio volunteers would like to thank the South West Independent Repeater Association, Pontotoc Amateur Radio Club, Pittsburg County Amateur Radio Club and the Fort Smith Amateur Radio Club for the use of their repeaters during this public service event.