Sept. 4, 2002
He could have joined a gym. He could have gone on a diet. But instead, when Sgt. Jeff Culter of the Herndon Police Department, a novice bicycle rider, decided he needed to get in better shape last April, he chose to sign up for a 250-mile trek from New York City to the Pentagon. Five months later, Culter is days away from commemorating the first anniversary of last September's terrorist attacks by hopping on a bike and riding more than 60 miles a day.
Of the 200 police officers, firefighters, military personnel, and health care workers participating in the event that concludes on Sept. 11, four will be representing the Herndon police department. Of those four, only one — Culter — is not one of the town's bicycle riding officers. A married father of three with 18 years on the force, Culter is looking forward to his four-day trip on two wheels. Unlike his more seasoned riders, Culter has one major goal. "My goal is to simply complete it."
<b>WHILE THE TRAINING</b> hasn't always been easy, there were several 100 degree days and many of his friends and some of his family, while supportive, thought he was crazy to try something like this. There message was simple. "What are you doing?" they asked.
And then there are those pesky 'saddle sores.' "That is what really scares me," Culter said. "My fear is sitting on that saddle for hours at a time. But because the reason behind it is good, I am expecting my adrenaline to take over during the rough spots."
Fairfax County police, along with Inova Health System, are hosting the 250-mile, four-day, memorial bike ride beginning on Sept. 8 at Battery Park in New York, just yards from Ground Zero. The tour will conclude three days later at the foot of the Pentagon. "The symbolic nature of this event was a very important factor in my participation," Culter said. "At the heart of it, we are all riding to remember the brothers and sisters we lost on Sept. 11."
<b>ON A SHORT TRAINING DAY</b>, the sergeant climbs on his bike, heads for the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and ventures west towards Loudoun County. Twenty miles later, he hops off his bike. On a "long day," he is liable to cover twice as many miles. And it's all in the name of charity. Proceeds from the entry fees will benefit the Inova Regional Trauma Center.
Inova is of special interest to the leader of the Herndon contingent, Sgt. Jerry Keys. Supervisor of the police bicycle team since 1997, Keys was treated at the trauma center in 1999 after suffering a severe head injury while on duty.
The "Ride to Remember" event will help provide the financial support needed each year to support the research, injury prevention and community outreach activities of the Inova Regional Trauma Center, Northern Virginia's only Level I trauma center.