33 cyclists brave 33 degrees - an article submitted to the News Argus and the News & Observer

On the cold, windy, winter morning of February 3, 2007, 33 Seyboro Cyclists and their friends from all over North Carolina decided the weather was just perfect to visit their friend and president Dave Galloway.  They missed his presence and constantly felt lost without his guidance and leadership.  Dave was just too busy to ride; he had recovery on his mind.

Dave is a staunch advocate of both motorcycle and bicycle safety, and loves all things with two-wheels.  He has bicycled more than 100,000 miles in his lifetime, and typically rides more than 5,000 miles per year.  He has calves the size of bowling pins, and has earned the name “Diesel Dave” by those that dared to keep up with him.  He never leaves a man or woman behind, and typically sacrifices finishing with the lead group to make sure that everyone makes it back safely.

The Seyboro Cyclists are a club that was founded by several members of the Air Force stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB, as well as some residents of Goldsboro, NC, Dave being one of the original few still cycling locally.  He has almost always been the unspoken president of the club and knows the roads of Wayne, Lenoir, and Greene County without even looking at a map.  He knows every shortcut, every pothole, every dog that will chase you, and every horse that will let you feed it.

On December 14th, Dave was on his daily lunchtime bicycle ride out of Snow Hill, NC, where he worked as the Director of the NC Motorcycle Safety Foundation.  He was involved in a very serious bicycle-versus-car accident that put him in the ICU of Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC.  The car was south bound on Hull Road, and made a left turn onto Wheat Swamp Road, crossing the center line in the turn, and hitting Dave head-on at 45 mph, while Dave was traveling approximately 15-20 mph.  Dave hit the right front fender of the car, was thrown into the windshield (which he shattered), and was then tossed over the top of the car and into the ditch 30 feet away.  His bicycle was broken almost in half; the 2 wheels were now side by side amongst the twisted metal.  The neighbors across the street heard the crash and would have sworn that two cars had hit head-on, and couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw a cyclist lying in a ditch, trying his best to get up.

He proceeded to give the orders on whom to call, and even had the neighbor tell his work that he “probably wouldn’t be back today.”  He very obviously had a broken wrist, a dislocated elbow, and a shattered lower right leg.  Just these injuries warranted a call to the East Care helicopter from PCMH, who immediately responded and landed in a nearby field 15 minutes later.  Once he arrived at PCMH, he was immediately classified as critical, and they had difficulty even keeping him alive.  Aside from the obvious injuries, he had also broken 6 ribs, fractured and sprung his pelvis, and was bleeding internally from the pelvic fracture.  There were several broken fingers and lacerations down to the bone.  Miraculously there were no injuries to his brain or his spine, and he had movement in all of his limbs at the scene of the accident.

Over the next several days, Dave would go through many surgeries, receive more than 35 units of blood, get infections in his body and his blood, suffer kidney failure, have a collapsed lung, and have test after test done in order to chart his progression back to life.  His family waited by his side, plotting all of the critical numbers inside their own minds: BUN, creatinine, white blood cell, hemoglobin, and various other Gray’s Anatomy quotes that had never meant anything to them before now.  He would be kept asleep to avoid too much pain.  His temperature would spike up and gradually come back down, only to spike up again unexplainably.  His abdomen was cut open to relieve swelling and to keep him alive.  He received external fixaters in his leg twice, in his wrist, in his elbow, and in his pelvis, as well as plates and screws inside his pelvis to hold it together.  He had bones reconstructed and put back in the correct places.

Dave’s family waited patiently, supporting each other through these times of trial.  They spent day and night at the hospital, waiting for any small sign that showed he was going to be alright.  They made many friends, drove many miles, and ate many reheated hospital meals.  It was always a blessing when a family friend brought a hot dinner or offered a shoulder to cry on.

Dave spent 30 days in the ICU, only to be moved to an Intermediate Unit, then a regular hospital room, then to Life Care Hospital in Rocky Mount, all within a week.  It was here that Dave finally regained consciousness and awareness enough to understand where he was and why he was there.  It wasn’t until he saw the remains of his bicycle, and learned that his body had totaled the car that hit him, that he realized how far he had come.  He knew that God had been watching over him and had big plans for him, although he couldn’t understand what they were right now.  He knew this was going to be a long and painful recovery, but that he would come out of this an even better man than he had entered it. 

The decision for the Seyboros to take a 60 mile ride on this cold winter day was a no-brainer.  Dave would have done it for any of the cycling friends that he had made over the years, so it was their duty to do it for him.  The ride began at 9:00 AM with a temperature of 33o.  Cyclists had come from Asheville, Pilot Mountain, Fayetteville, Apex, and of course the locals from Goldsboro, 33 total, not including the SAG support from the spouses.  Everyone was bundled tightly, and the forecast was for winds out of the northeast, the direction that they would be traveling.  Of course the meteorologist wasn’t wrong this time.  The ride went through many back roads with very little traffic, which allowed everyone to socialize and tell stories and tall tales about Diesel Dave.  The winds seemed to get stronger and stronger the closer they got to Rocky Mount, but nothing was going to stop them from seeing their friend. 

Dave had somehow convinced the nurses to wheel him downstairs to the cafeteria to see everyone when they arrived.  They had no idea what they had agreed to.  They even briefly took him outside for his first breath of fresh air in more than 51 days – Dave was a man who loved the outdoors, for both work and play.  While everyone else thought February 3rd was cold and windy, the chilly breeze against his face felt like nothing he had ever experienced before. 

After 4 hours of combating the wind and navigating back roads of Wayne, Wilson, Edgecombe, and Nash counties, the Seyboros arrived.  The first thing they saw was Dave waving through the cafeteria window.  They quickly set their bikes aside to rush in to see Dave, to hug him, to shake his hand.  He was ecstatic to see the turnout.  The hospital would not allow the friends to stay for long, but Dave said this was “the most touching thing that anyone has ever done.” 

He knows now that he’ll be back on the bicycle soon, leading the Seyboros once again.  He knows it is not going to be easy and that he is going to hurt in order to get better.  He knows that no matter what, he still has his family, his friends, and his life, and God to thank for all of the above.

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1st (and hopefully last) Annual Rocky Mount Rehab Ride

It's happening soon!!  Please join the Seyboro Cyclists from Goldsboro, NC on the Rocky Mount Rehab Ride.  On February 3rd, we will ride to visit Seyboro President Dave Galloway at his rehabilitation facility in Rocky Mount.  Start time is 9 am from Eastern Wayne Elementary School in Goldsboro.  Please arrive early to sign the poster for Dave that will be presented to him later.

The weather will be cold but sunny, so please dress appropriately.  Leg warmers or tights, arm warmers, jacket or vest, gloves with fingers, and booties are probably going to be needed.

This moderately paced, no-drop ride will take us through 50 some miles of scenic eastern NC.  There will be a photo session at the hospital, as well as a photo presentation later in the day.  After visiting with Dave, we will have a late lunch at the Red Lobster restaurant on Wesleyan Blvd.

If you do not plan on riding back to Goldsboro, please work out your own transportation home.  For those too smelly to ride back in a vehicle or those looking to complete their first century of 2007, there will be a ride-back-by-velocipede-option.  Bob L. and Brother Furman will be sponsoring the hard man's return leg (meaning that they will be doing all of the work). 

Whatever you decide to ride, let's all get out there and show the President some love!!

For more info, check back here or email Jörg at jlwagner@icomnet.com.