Early on a Saturday morning Jim met me at my house to load my recumbent trike into the back of his truck. Clouds dotted the sky to the south and the sun was still undecided as to what it was going to do. The weather was perfect for riding. In separate cars, Jim and I weaved our way across town where we parked and he unloaded our bikes. As he unloaded our bikes from his truck, I began to put on my helmet, and set my Strava App to record our ride.
Today would be a different type of ride. Jim is working on perfecting a method of tandem towing which is a way to assist riders, like me, with physical disabilities to lift the limitations from their riding experience.
For those of you who are not familiar with my story, I suffered a non-traumatic spinal cord injury in 2010, caused by Transverse Myelitis and resulting in paraplegia. My recovery moves at its own pace and I no longer try to dictate or predict progress or outcomes. I am now content to enjoy the process and am careful not to miss out on enjoying life and all its wonders.
This day of experimentation was one of those days filled with wonder. Ernie, who rides and electric assist bike, met up with us to help carry out the experiment. Jim used his idea to connect my recumbent trike to Ernie’s electronic assist bike. Ernie rode ahead of me and provided me with assistance in areas and on terrain where I was not strong enough to navigate on my own.
Our ride today was recreational in nature, but for me it quickly became quite a bit more. The therapeutic value of tandem towing should be explored further. There were segments of the ride where my cycling cadence almost felt natural and I didn’t have to think about each revolution of the pedal.
This method of tandem towing opened up an entirely new world for me as a rider. I got to experience the beauty and serenity of our wonderful desert, gaze up at snow capped mountains while listening to the stream flowing on my right, all while being completely enveloped by the aroma of the creosote bush. I am eternally grateful to Jim and Ernie of Friends of CV Link who work tirelessly to promote cycling safety for all riders in the Coachella Valley.
Seriously, how can any one person be more blessed than this!