athlete, Bent Rider Online, bike, Bryan Ball, cycling, disability, Handicapped, ICE, Larry Varney, Leary Firefighters Foundation, multiple sclerosis, New York City Marathon, Pilates, recumbent trike, swimming, triathlon
~ For anybody who isn’t familiar with BROL, it is quite simply the best place to go for information about ‘bents of every sort, peopled with folks who possess incredible enthusiasm for cycling. You can find helpful, detailed reviews for all things cycling-related; advice for the most basic-to-advanced cycling quandary; humorous, educational, and courageous stories of adventure; the most thorough listing of links, manufacturers, retailers and resources that I have come across for all things cycle and/or recumbent; partake of the experience of an ever-growing community of people passionate about human powered vehicles and life as it relates to, is enriched by, depends upon (?) cycling. BROL was created and is captained by Larry Varney and Bryan Ball. Thanks, guys! www.bentrideronline.com
You might remember me from my initial post where I introduced myself as someone with a complex set of health issues looking for exactly the right recumbent trike to get me cycling again. You were welcoming & very generous with your support & advice. A few of you took the time to contact me off-forum & provide even more specific information & experience. A couple of you took me under your wings, made sure I didn’t give up the search when the details of various trikes & configurations, choices & prices, began to feel overwhelming. I feel incredibly lucky, sincerely grateful, to not only have found what I wanted & needed—my first recumbent trike—but something I never anticipated, a few folks I now get to call friends.
A 2006 ICE QNT has changed my life. Not since being partnered with a mobility assistance service dog has my life been so dramatically transformed. After Luke came into my life I gained back a large measure of independence & safety & freedom. He allowed me to be an active part of my own life, to be social again, to become of service in my community, to return to teaching, to travel for work, education & pleasure.
Starbuck, this QNT, has accomplished something equally significant. Before the symptoms of MS intersected with my life I was always training for one triathlon or another; then I became someone who might as well have been Velcro-ed to a couch, a chair, a bed. For a long time I had no choice about my inactivity because of the severity of my illness. When the remissions began to last longer in between relapses, I still didn’t see the point of throwing myself into any kind of modified exercise program because I knew all the progress would be lost in a matter of weeks or months when a relapse hit and I’d have to begin all over again.
I eventually made some choices that helped me to grow stronger and be more active, such as making Pilates and swimming a daily priority whenever I’m feeling well enough. Still, I never imagined I’d be able to do anything more than cheer on other athletes once the limitations of MS became evident. Now, that’s changed. Starbuck provided much more than another way for me to be active and get exercise, she gave me something I never expected—the means by which to reclaim the label of “athlete,” to compete in mainstream athletic events, and to be a valued, contributing member of a team.
I hope to make a real difference with my efforts, to raise awareness about recumbent trikes, to encourage all those with illness, injury, disability to engage in physical activity to the highest level they are capable of—not only for the health benefits to their bodies, but for the way mind and spirit can be transformed, as well. My fondest hope is that someone seeing me pedaling across a finish line will take hold of the idea that if I can do it, she can too.
I’ve started a blog about my discovery of recumbent trikes and how that led me to one of the most unlikely adventures I could’ve ever have imagined for myself: becoming the first challenged athlete to be granted permission by the New York City Marathon to use a recumbent trike as reasonable accommodation for a disability. I hope you’ll pay the blog a visit, maybe even subscribe and pass the link along to your cycle-loving friends. I hope you might tune in to watch your BROL colleague on November 7th; I hope I do y’all proud. I hope you’ll tell everybody you know about the team who warmly and eagerly welcomed me in spite of the fact that I don’t look like the average marathoner, Team LFF—Leary Firefighters Foundation is a phenomenal charity organization doing amazing work for our nation’s firefighters & their families.
Most of all I hope I have conveyed my gratitude for the part you played in aiding my trike-quest, for all of your advice, and for encouraging my dream. I hope to be among you and sharing stories and listening to yours for a long time.