343 firefighters, challenged athlete, Hurricane Katrina, ICE, ING New York City Marathon, Leary Firefighters Foundation, Luke, mobility assistance service dog, multiple sclerosis, New York City Marathon, QNT
You might remember me from previous correspondence asking (many) questions in order to purchase my first trike. I have a complicated set of needs because of health issues & your information/advice was incredibly helpful, your extreme patience much appreciated. So much so that I wished more than anything to buy a new trike from you. Not just because I was convinced of the superior quality & perfect match for my needs, but because of your incredible kindness & service. In the end though I was so excited & eager to get riding that I purchased a used QNT so that I could have a trike sooner rather than later.
I’m writing to let you know that I’m going to be riding my 2006 QNT in the ING New York City Marathon on November 7th of this year. I’m the first challenged athlete granted permission to utilize a recumbent trike as “reasonable accommodation” for a disability (MS) in the history of the marathon. I suppose you may already have disabled athletes using your trikes in marathons there in the UK, but over here – and with the large, prestigious marathons most especially – race directors still aren’t too keen on anybody but runners (and elite ones at that) in their races. And while there are events specific to disabled athletes, I believe very much in, and desire, inclusion. Which is why I consider
the opportunity to be a part of the NYC Marathon an incredible privilege.
I will be a member of Team LFF, the Leary Firefighters Foundation – an organization I’m very passionate about: http://www.learyfirefighters.org/about-us/foundation-history/
They have done tremendous work, such as rebuilding 11 firehouses in New Orleans in the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, providing much-needed equipment & training to firehouses all over the US, responding to the events of September 11, raising 1.9 million in funds that went directly to the families of 343 firefighters who perished in the line of duty. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of Team LFF and to have a chance at my lifelong dream of crossing the finish line of the NYC Marathon. A dream I thought I’d given up forever when I was diagnosed w/multiple sclerosis over a decade ago. I hope you know how much the fine trikes you build mean to people like me who no longer have the option of riding a bike. In fact I cannot even ambulate without the help of my (adorable & devoted) mobility assistance service dog Luke. When I’m out riding I feel the glorious independence & freedom and adventure of cycling that I haven’t been able to enjoy in over 12 years. This trike has changed my life dramatically. I can hardly believe how I feel: strong & capable & decidedly *not* disabled. When I’m flying down the bike path with the breeze whooshing past, the wheels powered by my own ability & endurance, I feel healthy & unbroken, triumphant. A drastic difference from how I usually feel as part & parcel of going about life w/ MS.
I’m sure every owner of a recumbent trike takes great pleasure in it, but the owners of ICE trikes have to be the happiest of the lot, no doubt. I thank you for creating such stellar pieces of wheeled artwork. These masterpieces of 3 wheels & chromoly, bits of anodized aluminum & chain – that you’ve spent 25 years engineering into the ultimate design – have given me back so much, not the least of which is the title of “athlete” – something I never imagined I’d be able to
reclaim. I’ll ride Starbuck with the utmost pride on race day. I’m sure there will be a lot of attention paid to her & you can rest assured that I will be saying ICE ICE ICE ICE as loudly & clearly as possible. I wish you could be there to see her cross the finish line of one of the most prestigious marathons in the world!
With humble gratitude & great reverence for your craft,