It was a normal day. At least it started out that way.
I was excited to see my cousin, Nan, and her husband, Bill, who had contacted me earlier in the week to see if we could get together for socially distant visit.
We had planned to meet at West Lawn, bundle up, bring some food and lawn chairs, take a walk, and have some lunch. As luck would have it, we ended up with a 55-degree, sun-filled day in December.
Arriving at West Lawn, a quiet, white-with-snow venue known for rest and reflection, I noticed not one but three cars waiting for me. I soon recognized - even through their masks and at a distance - my cousins Francis and Matt! I couldn't believe they all drove over an hour to see me! I felt so blessed.
We took a long walk on the hallowed, wooded grounds, me with my walker and my cousins with their endless patience for my pace. I felt wrapped in a warm blanket of love, support, and 'all-will-be-ok-ness.' I was so inspired that I kept extending our walk. 'These are the good 'ol days,' I thought. We set up our chairs to form a socially distant circle and shared some food as we continued to catch-up. After a while, Bill stood, pulled out a few scraps of paper. I could tell that something was coming-- a speech or announcement of some sort. As the seconds ticked by, I quickly felt that somehow I was at the center of all this. Minutes later, my hunch would be confirmed...
Fast forward through a few tears and my disbelieving laughter interrupted only by my shouts of "No way! You gotta be kidding me! I was just talking to that place! What!?"... You get the idea.
The bottom line: A group of my family, friends, even acquaintances have made financial contributions to gift me an adaptive bike! And it just so happens that I had started to research such options with a Vermont-based organization called RAD Innovations. A few days and several conversations later, Kim and I were traveling to Cornwall in our bubble to conduct "essential" work. The folks at RAD and I had discussed our C-19 hesitations, and it became evident that our conservatism related to C-19 protocols was aligned. Kim and I would bring all our own provisions, stay in the vacant farmhouse on the property, and we would stay within the property bounds (not a problem with a couple hundred acres to play with).
I was so excited. Snow on the ground, refreshing air in the 20s, and a somewhat-plowed long driveway, which is where I would test the bikes. We pulled in the driveway as a faint vision gained increasing clarity-- 3 recumbent trikes for me to test! David Black (RAD founder) and I had had several conversations about the limitations imposed by my disability and the type of riding I desire, so we were able to narrow it down to 3 bikes before I arrived. This was underscored by my tandem pilot, Fabio (a.k.a., "the Rock"), who, after conducting some research on the trikes, told me, "I think the bike for you is the Kettwiesel Cross Steps...disc brakes, full suspension, electronic assist..." Guess what I ended up with? Yes! Called "the Swiss Army knife" of recumbent trikes, I've had my “Kettwiesel” on pavement, snow, mud, and dirt so far, and I fully understand why it’s called the Swiss Army knife of ‘bent trikes. Extremely maneuverable in tight spaces, it has a turning radius that is just slightly longer than the length of the bike— amazing. And the 3 levels of electronic assist come in quite handy. Here are some pics and videos from Vermont, and a shot of my Kettwiesel, below:
My inaugural ride with Bill was an epic adventure! There is some nice vertical around here, so we wanted to see how the ‘bent (recumBENT) performed on some hills…the answer is outstanding! (Especially with the electronic assist!) My two solo rides since then have been equally exciting, epic and FUN!
As we crest into the new year, I wish is that you feel as blessed and fortunate as I, and that you feel the same love, support and comfort as you have given to me, and for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you.
B L A C K L I V E S M A T T E R
J U S T I C E I N 2 0 2 1 !