A small group of Amateur Radio operators and volunteers supported the Oklahoma Freewheel — a cross-state bicycle tour — June 7-13. Kenneth Baucum, KG5CBM, led the Amateur Radio contingent.
“This year, Freewheel started in Hollis, Oklahoma, and finished in Fort Smith, Arkansas,” Baucum said. “Bicyclists completed a tour of about 500 miles in 7 days, completing an average of 65 miles each day.” He said some of those in the ham radio contingent are also ARES volunteers.
Baucum said SAG support driver responsibilities included carrying water to replenish rest stops and rider water bottles on the route, as well as having spare tubes and tire pumps on hand to fix flat tires. “Cyclists would request support by flagging down a support vehicle, or calling the support number,” he said. Baucum then would relay messages, as appropriate, to the driver nearest the incident.
“Common issues included flat tires, slipped chains, and shifters needing adjustment,” Baucum said. “A few calls for medical support were handled by providing first aid, water, and shade or air conditioning for riders in distress.”
Oklahoma Freewheel expressed its appreciation to the radio amateurs who volunteered and to for the support of local radio clubs and 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,” a statement said.
Baucum said volunteers who turned out to serve as SAG support drivers included Fred Williams, KD5NBR; Annette Williams, KE5EHV; Keith Sheets, KG5ATU, and Jack Moore, KC5DPQ. — Thanks to Kenneth Baucum, KG5CBM, and Lloyd Colston, KC5FM