Riverside Park in Grants Pass.
(Photo © J. Maus)
BikePortland has confirmed that a man died in his tent Thursday night in Grants Pass while participating in the Cycle Oregon ride.
Someone on the ride first told us about the situation Friday night and then confirmed the death with official EMTs. This morning, I spoke with Cycle Oregon ride director Jerry Norquist. Norquist confirmed that the death occurred on Thursday and that the Grants Pass Police Department is doing an investigation.
The deceased man was 59-year old John Aeby of Eugene.
According to a source on the ride, a man came to the medical tent to report that his neighbor — who had been feeling ill prior to going to bed — had not gotten up in the morning. “He walked up, and in soft tones, said that his neighbor didn’t go out on the ride, hadn’t moved his bike, and was unresponsive and stiff. ‘I think he’s dead’ he said.”
It’s not yet known whether or not a stomach bug that has been going around the Cycle Oregon camp contributed to the man’s death.
According to various sources, as many as 200 participants have caught a stomach bug. About 40 of them were driven from camp in Glendale to a Grants Pass hospital treatment and Cycle Oregon officials immediately stepped up precautions throughout the campsite.
Norquist told BikePortland that, unlike it was first reported, the illness was not food-borne. He said the bug entered camp on the second day and they were not sure who had brought it in.
According to an article published in The Oregonian in 2004, this is the fourth death that has occurred in Cycle Oregon’s 23 year history. In 2004, a 60-year old West Linn woman died when she lost control of her bike and crashed over a cliff while descending on a mountain road near Williams; In 2002, a 44-year old man died of a heart attack while riding on Highway 26 near Welches; and in 1995 a 43-year old man from Eugene died when his bike plunged over an embankment.
Cycle Oregon stopped in Grants Pass for two nights and wraps up today with a ride into Medford.