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Adventurous physician rides bike to access “profound freedom”

When she’s not caring for patients at night in the ICU at Methodist or University hospital in Indy, critical care physician Maria Srour, MD, is helping critically ill patients at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya.


In between all of that, she gets in as much cycling and running as possible.


An Indy native, Srour first visited Moi as a medical student at IU. She’s since returned multiple times and is currently on a four-month stint there, where she’s focusing on expanding critical care. Although it has a catchment of 25 million Kenyans, Moi has 900 patient beds, and only 20 of those can serve ICU patients.


“Critical care takes a lot of resources,” Srour says.


She loves the challenge of taking care of someone who’s literally on the brink of death, turning them around and then seeing them walk out of the hospital.

“The physiology of critical care is fulfilling,” she says. “Knowing how pressure in a system works, or how to act on a particular physiological mechanism to change how the body behaves or reacts and then doing it and seeing a result is very cool.”

Long before she started her medical odyssey, Srour started her cycling journey when she was a North Central High School senior with the purchase of her first road bike, a Trek 1500, at the BGI Labor Day sale. She’d saved up money she earned as a camp counselor.


She took that bike with her to IU and as a freshman joined a cycling club. After attending Little 500, she decided it was something she wanted to do. She trained and competed her sophomore year for Athena and senior year for Team Wing It. She missed the race her junior year because she was doing an abroad semester at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.


Medical residency took her to St. Louis, where she did group rides as part of triathlon training. “Honestly, I was kind of turned off by group rides because often people didn’t know what they were doing,” she said. “Safety on a bike is one of the things I’m really neurotic about.”


As a young adult, Srour biked across the country with Bike and Build, a nonprofit that raised money for affordable housing. That led to three other Bike and Build trips and a life-long community of alumni who continue to do bikepacking and touring for fun.


Why would someone like Maria, with so much biking experience, join IU Health Momentum Divas and ride in the Honor Major Taylor Fondo?


“Bri made me go,” she said. Bri Clark, an Indy attorney, who was Srour’s Little 500 Wing It coach.


Srour has enjoyed riding with the Divas and, even though she’s in Kenya for the spring, she already registered for 2024 and has her Divas kit.


“It’s just a very constructive and encouraging environment,” she said of the Divas. “There’s a very conscious effort to make everyone safe. And it’s good for those who have done a lot of group riding, as well as for novices.”


Why I Bike

“Being on a bike is the most profound sense of freedom I can get.”

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