Emily’s 427 Mile Trike Ride with Ataxia

For the past six years, my summer vacation in the last week of July was taken by participating in this little ride called RAGBRAI which stands for Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. The event was created by the Des Moines Register, which is our state-wide newspaper. Some people think that I am nuts and out of my mind, but that is okay. I have so much fun participating and riding!

Six years ago, I joined a group called Adaptive Sports Iowa. One of their missions and goals is to bring fun, excitement and exercise to enhance the quality of life of amazing athletes with physical disabilities in Iowa. Even though I am not physically able to ride every mile, I make the most of it and make goals for myself and reach milestones.

The week started on Sunday, which was a rainy and miserable day. It was a short day, but I came back looking like a drowned rat. I had only ridden once in the rain like that before, and I am hoping that I never have to ride in weather like that again. Monday was definitely a milestone day for me. I have never been able to ride a full day before, but I rode a full day AND I achieved my longest ride that I have ever done in one day … 74.2 miles. Needless to say, I felt pretty darn proud of myself!

At the meeting town, which is usually about halfway (distance-wise) during the days ride, ASI will have our walkers, wheelchairs, scooter, and yes, even feet so that we can spend some time out of the bike and move around freely.

The rest of the week was a blur to me, pretty normal and uneventful (at least my type of normal). The ride was challenging for a variety of reasons, one of the main reasons is that I am not the most graceful person getting up and walking around from a trike, or at all for that matter. Luckily, we have buddy riders that ride with us, talk to us, encourage, and motivate us up hills and help us to move about on two legs. By the end of the week, we are all one big family, some people you have just met at the beginning of the week and others are already family from previous years. By the end of the ride, I was so tired and sore, but I am already on a countdown and can not wait to do it again, next year!

We would like to thank Emily for sharing you inspiring story with us!

If you would also like to get involve and share your experience with Ataxia or other rare condition, please get into contact with us through our social media channels below.

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