TULSA, Okla. – With hundreds of cyclists covering more than a hundred miles on Saturday’s Tour of Tulsa, there was bound to be some help they needed along the way. This is where a group of local hobbyists stepped in.
“Some of these roads are out there in the middle of nowhere,” Paul Teel said.
Some of the Tour de Tulsa riders are going up to 103 miles, and what they’re up against isn’t all smooth.
“Stuff on the road,” Teel said. They’re going to have flat tires. They will be tired.
This is where Teel comes in.
“We provide this as a community service,” he said.
He is a member of the Tulsa Amateur Radio Club. His love for the hobby dates back to his college days.
“We are all licensed operators and I have had my license since 1969,” he said.
On Saturday’s ride, his fellow club members also hit the road. Not on bicycles, but in their radio-equipped cars.
“We have people on the course who can help the runners,” he said. “If they have a flat tire, give them a pump. Give them water, first aid.
At the same time, Teel and another member remained at the starting line. Their mobile command trailer is equipped with a full mast and broadcast equipment. From there, they communicate with their pursuers throughout the course. They can also track their locations in real time with computers.
“With this map here, I can see where everyone is,” Teel said.
The pursuers, in turn, respond by radio when they find someone in need. Teel and his partner then send help to their location.
The entire setup can be towed just about anywhere needed.
“This organization and our technology have been used since Hurricane Katrina,” Teel said.
Its capabilities go beyond a simple bike ride.
“Without the internet, without any other medium, we can be on a generator and provide communications,” he said.
The communications – the one on Saturday – gave the runners some peace of mind.
“When you can help someone fix a flat tire, when you can help people get water, first aid, or just a ride to the next rest stop, that’s great for us.” , Teel said.
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