I have cerebral palsy and have used a powerchair since I was three....
About a year and a half ago I applied for a grant from the Challenged Athlete Foundation for a handcycle. While I was waiting for letters to go out I worked out at the gym. I was talking to my trainer about handcycles. I explained that because all of the weight was behind the drive wheel in the front they could be extremely difficult to pedal uphill.
So in our small town I would probably be limited to a couple of trails for a while. She asked me if I had thought about putting an electric motor on my handcycle. I had, but I assumed it would be out of my price range. But my curiosity was piqued so I began looking around.
A few months later I got the grant. I found the Roadrace Power Pod and called Mark Brereton the owner. He built a Power Pod as soon as he could and by October of 2013 I was ready to go.
I finished the Zombie Run (a 5k) with my brother a couple of weeks later.
In November I did another 5K with a friend of mine, and last week I finished my first half marathon! (I finished first). This weekend I'm signed up for a 25 mile ride!
Without my E-Bike kit I would still be riding the river trail. The E-bike allows me to focus on bike handling and safety rather than constantly thinking about pedaling. If I have to stop on an uphill I know I can get started again. I can go out riding with my friends who are strong cyclists and they have to keep up with me.
Although I've been involved in many adaptive sports over the years cycling with a Power Pod gives me the most independence. Riding a handcycle gives you a level of speed and control you just don't get from a powerchair.
If you would like to make sure other athletes like Ciara get the technology they need, donate to CAF today.
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