Face of America
In April of 2014, my tandem pilot Victor Henderson graciously volunteered to ride with me in the annual Face of America Bicycle Ride from World T.E.A.M. Sports. The ride included 130 injured veterans and 370 able body riders who set out from the pentagon in Arlington, Virginia for the historical city of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Along this 110 mile bicycle ride both Victor and I rolled down city and suburban streets, small back roads and past old country farms. Each rider I believe had a different perspective and experience, for me the ride was a beautiful and exhilarating activity, one that I will try and pursue again next year.
Riding on the back of a tandem bicycle probably would have never crossed my mind when I was sighted, but participating in road tandem cycling after vision loss has become a very therapeutic exercise for me. Racing past buildings, down steep hills and around hair pin turns with the wind in your face, provides a person with a wild rush of adrenaline and sense of freedom. The sense of freedom and ones ability to power themselves forward is what I yearn and look forward to when I take my seat on the back of the tandem. Vision loss, amputation, paralysis, loss of hearing and other injuries/disabilities, can leave an individual feeling discouraged, lost and trapped. Physical fitness, sports and recreation all have contributed to my rehabilitation and recovery, and have helped me regain courage, confidence and independence I thought I had lost.
The Face of America bike ride brings so many great people together to accomplish one amazing endeavor. A special thanks to World T.E.A.M. Sports and all the volunteers who made the ride possible. Please visit the official World T.E.A.M. Sports Face of America website to read more about the ride.
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A special thanks to Michael Lassig and Swett & Crawford for this amazing gift.
In the summer of 2013 a group of people came together to create a unique gift for me. The gift was a total surprise setup to be presented and revealed to me at Village Cycle Sport near my home in Illinois. I was warned of some surprise, but truly had no idea the gift would be a brand new set of wheels. Okay, so it is not a brand new sports car, but a brand new road tandem bicycle.
The tandem has a symbolic custom paint job. Look a little closer and think a little deeper, and you might feel or see Strength, Resilience and Courage painted deep into the metal frame. Strength in the colors red, white and blue for our nations flag. Strength in the black and U.S. Army badges that surround and protect our nations colors. Resilience, which exists within our nations warriors and families who must overcome so much adversity during conflict. Courage and selflessness in our armies sergeants and all who stand for freedom. I feel all that and so much more when someone describes what the tandem bike’s paint job looks like.
Symbols on the bike include:
- The Red, White, & Blue top tube, down tube, and bottom bracket represent Freedom.
- The chain stays and seat tube at the rear, and the front forks on the front end are a tribute to the US ARMY. They are colored black & gold containing the US ARMY logo. They bracket the red/white/blue center of the bike to symbolize protection of freedom.
- On the right side of the bike in front of the stoker’s seat position, is a tribute to Staff Sergeant Victor “Chiko” Cota mortally wounded in combat on May 13, 2008 symbolizing all of those warriors who paid the ultimate price for projecting our freedom.
- The rear chain stays contain the names Manuel & Mireyaaime who are Victor Cota’s children symbolizing the sacrifice made by military families.
- High Ground publicizes the documentary to inspire perspective, strength through adversity, hard work, and perseverance.
Visit The Swett Warriors website to read more about the tandem.
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Blind Endeavors Foundation
PO Box 3035
Montrose, CO 81402