When Denise Blanchard lost control of her bicycle and fell hard on a gravel road in Kansas, she thought last year’s TransAmerica bicycle tour was over for her and her husband, Charles Coderre.
“I lose control of my bike completely and it is the fall! Ayayaye! It hurts! I gasp, I see blood all over my legs, … and pain in left side arm … . I feel panicked. Charles ran beside me and I told him to rinse wounds faster with water. I see my left knee deeply lacerated my left arm is all swollen and blood! I hurt, I’m afraid. ”
A couple of passersby stopped to offer assistance on the road east of Cassoday, but by that nightfall Denise was bandaged and admitted into a hospital in Wichita, with her husband at her side.
The wounds weren’t life threatening and she was released from the hospital a couple of days later under a doctors’ orders to rest and recuperate for the next two weeks.
Luckily, two hospitable Kansas couples came to their aid.
Meagan and Clark Baldwin picked them up at the hospital. The Baldwins are Warm Showers hosts and the Canadian couple had been guests in their home in Newton the night before the accident. Now the Baldwins have driven down to Wichita, located their bikes and gear, and set them up with friends Carmina and Rodney Suter for the period of recovery.
Because of their efforts, the Baldwins and Suters were given the 2013 June Curry Trail Angel Award by Adventure Cycling Association. In nominating the two couples, Denise wrote:
“The Baldwins and the Suters opened their homes to us during my recovery. We will be forever grateful for their generosity and kindness. After the accident, we thought that our tour was over, but the fact that they did all they could to encourage and help us gave us confidence to continue the tour. Rodney Suter even gave us a lift to St. Louis, Missouri, after two weeks, so we could catch up on our schedule. I was able to get back on the bike and we continued our tour! These people are the kinds of trail angels that make a real difference for cyclists like us.”
The nonprofit bicycle touring organization has issued the “Trail Angel” award every year since 2003 in the name of June Curry, the famous “Cookie Lady” of Afton, Virginia, who hosted thousands of touring bicyclists over the years.
Adventure Cycling issues other awards as well. This year’s winners are:
Pacesetter Bicycle Travel Award – Chris Kegel of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, for being a leader in bicycle advocacy over the years.
Braxton Bicycle Shop Award — Lizardhead Cyclery of Delores, Colorado, on the Adventure Cycling Western Express Bicycle Route for their car and attention to customers, many of whom are cross-country bicycle travelers.
Volunteer of the Year Award — Bruce Porter of Austin, Texas, for his efforts to find a safer route through central Texas on Adventure Cycling’s Southern Tier Bicycle Route.
Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients. The honors are well deserved.