Memo to IBEW members: Be on the lookout for the Brotherhood's logo on a pair of bicyclists when out traveling this summer. The Scheids are back on the road, looking to raise money in the fight against childhood cancer.
|Rich and Colleen Scheid are on another long-distance bike ride to benefit CureSearch. Rich is a retiree of South Bend, Ind., Local 153. Colleen is a member of Phoenix Local 640.
|The Scheids with Louisville, Ky., Business Represenative Gene Holthouser, center, during a stop at the local’s hall in May.
Colleen and Rich Scheid, a married couple with nearly 70 years of IBEW membership between them, started their 4,000-plus-mile bike ride in Deer Lodge, Tenn., about 60 miles west of Knoxville, in mid-May.
They traveled through Kentucky to Indiana, making a stop at South Bend Local 153, Rich's home local before he retired earlier this year.
They then to cut across the upper Midwest, rode into New England to Maine before coming back down the East Coast through Washington, D.C., on their way to Florida.
After that, they will ride north through the Deep South and wind back up in Deer Lodge sometime this fall.
Not exactly a leisurely ride through your neighborhood. But the Scheids, who have shared a passion for endurance sports throughout their 16-year marriage, wouldn't have it any other way.
"We love every minute of it," said Colleen, a journeyman wireman and member of Phoenix Local 640. "Those endorphins kick in, and it all makes sense."
Added Rich: "We work together and live together. We stay in these little places in the country. We've learned to exist in small spaces, kind of like astronauts."
The Scheids have been down this road before. In 2018, they rode cross country from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. (That ride was featured in The Electrical Worker in July 2018.) The distance: slightly more than 3,000 miles.
They're doing it again in memory of Graham Wolff, Rich's nephew, who passed away in 2007 due to cancer at the age of 9, and to encourage donations to CureSearch, which raises money to fight childhood cancer and bring researchers in the field together.
Donations can be made at give.curesearch.org/PictureUsRollin.
"We're doing this because we enjoy it and we can give, give, give," Colleen said. "CureSearch is a good outfit that will use the money right."
The Scheids are both from northern Indiana, but they met about 2,000 miles to the west. Colleen moved to Phoenix with her family after graduating from high school. She went through her apprenticeship at Local 640 and has been a member for nearly 25 years.
Rich, who followed his father into the IBEW, was working as a traveler when the two met while on the job at the Pastoria Energy Facility near Bakersfield, Calif., in 2004. They quickly bonded over their love of exercise and the outdoors. They married in 2007, and Rich moved to Phoenix while keeping his Local 153 membership. Both of their home locals have made donations to CureSearch.
"We're two peas in a pod," Colleen said. "The moment I saw Rich on a jobsite, I knew he was the one. His smile, his laughter, his great energy. I have that, as well. It's nice to be with someone who gives great energy and receives great energy."
In addition to raising money in the childhood cancer fight, they hope their latest ride serves as a tribute to the good life afforded by IBEW membership. They say they are constantly amazed at how much they hear similar sentiments, not just from fellow IBEW members but from all union members when they see the IBEW logo during their rides.
"When you get to where we're at, you really do appreciate what you've got," Rich said just after he and Colleen crossed into south-central Kentucky early in the ride. "I'm not a rich man. But I am awfully comfortable, and I'm able to do what I love."
Members can follow the Scheids' exploits on their Facebook page, PictureUsRollin, and on Instagram under the same name. They hope to finish in mid-October.
"I'm going to visit a lot of IBEW locals on this trip," Rich said with a laugh. "But this time, I'm not looking for work."