(UPDATE: 5:56 p.m. May 11)—After three days of cycling a total of 252 miles, Cheez-Its taste really good, Sgt. Vickie Warehime of the Baltimore County Police Department said Wednesday.
Warehime is among the hundreds of police cyclists, all volunteers, who are participating in Police Unity Tour 2011, a national event in which police from throughout the country cycle to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. in honor of fallen law enforcement officers.
At 5:32 p.m. after cycling 86 miles that day, 102 miles Tuesday and 66 miles Monday, Warehime and other officers stopped at the Bay Bridge on the Eastern Shore and got on a bus that took them to Annapolis for the night.
"A Howard County Police support person just handed me a box of Cheez-Its and a bottle of water. Amazing how good they taste!" she texted. "We go to Annapolis to rest and eat. They estimate we burn around 4,000 calories a day."
That's a lot of work for a good cause—to honor fallen officers, show support for their survivors, including coworkers and family, and help support the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C.
"Big day tomorrow as we ride in to the memorial. Gets emotional seeing names of your friends on the wall. Almost done and I hope Bruce knows he is Never Forgotten," Warehime said, referring to Sgt. Bruce Prothero who died in February 2000 while working off-duty security at J. Brown Jewelers in Pikesville.
Warehime rides in honor of him.
On Wednesday morning, about 600 police officers who are also cyclists headed out from their rest in Wilmington, DE, for yet another 102-mile ride on their way to Washington, D.C.
By noon they had already ridden 42 miles, and the thin blue line had ridden along the Eastern Shore, through Cecilton. Riding two-by-two, the cyclists are forming the thin blue line that represents the thin line between chaos and control.
"Headed to Chester River bridge and Centerville after lunch," Warehime texted. "Great weather and everyone in good spirits. One crash already."
Yesterday, a cyclist flipped over her handlebars, Warehime explained. That rider went to get a few stitches in her mouth and ankle and she joined the group after lunch to keep riding.
"She knew she couldn't let that stop her since she was riding for a fallen officer," Warehime said. "It's great seeing all the cars pull off and honk their horns as we ride by."
Warehime, of Precinct 4/Pikesville, represents Baltimore County, the department, and specifically Prothero.
The group began its tour Monday in Floram, NJ, with a 66-mile ride, including through New York City, where they looped around Ground Zero.
On Tuesday it crossed the Commodore Barry Bridge over the Delaware River and continued on for a total of 102 miles traveled Tuesday before they stopped in Wilmington, DE.
"Another great weather day. Looking at 103 or so miles. Got to ride!" Warehime said just before 8 a.m. Wednesday as the group prepared to leave Wilmington. At 9:46, Warehime texted that she is now in the hilly roads of Maryland.
At 9:52 a.m., Warehime texted plans for the day: "Route 213 to Galena firehouse along Eastern shore. Rte. 290 back to Route 544, to Route 213 to Centerville for ceremony of fallen officers Nickerson and Schwenz from Centerville Police Department, and Queen Anne's County Police Department; then to Bay Bridge where we call it a day. Should be about 102 miles!"
They plan to stop in Annapolis to rest for the night, she said.
"Not sure I can eat another Fig Newton, but that's what we have. Looking forward to landing in Annapolis this evening. We can't ride across the Bay Bridge so we stop just short and get in school buses for the trek to our hotel in Annapolis," she said.
There were several crashes on Wednesday. "Tough afternoon," Warehime texted at 3:15 p.m. "Rider crashed in front of me and I managed to deflect off of her and stay up. Another crash wasn't so lucky as he ended up in the medic enroute to hospital. "Last break before Annapolis," she said. "We ride for those who died," she added, reciting the event motto.
By 3:22 p.m., the cyclists had done about 235 miles since Monday.
Cycling ends Thursday, and the event culminates with a candlelight memorial service on Friday, held along with surviving family members, at the national memorial in Washington.
Read more about the tour:
- Tuesday, May 10: Second Day of Cycling—160 Miles so Far—Is Complete
- Monday, May 9: Cyclists Round Ground Zero, Complete 66 Miles of 320-Mile Unity Ride
- To read about the event before it started, visit: Pikesville Officer Riding in Unity Tour
- Cyclists aren't the only bikers honoring fallen officers during national Police Week: Motorcyclists to Ride in Honor of Fallen Heroes