Quadriplegic Cyclist Bikes From Arizona To San Diego
Monday, March 17, 2014
A diving accident 23 years ago left Chris Wenner, 40, paralyzed with no use of his legs, and little strenght in his hands and arms. Now, Wenner is back doing something he loved before the accident — cycling. Wenner is going on practice rides for what he calls the “Epic Trip," a 10,000-mile electric tricycle ride that he’ll begin in May.
On Sunday, Wenner completed a four-day test ride, cycling from Arizona to San Diego. He rode the more than 400 miles to Ocean Beach on a prototype bike.
Wenner has been dreaming about making a cycling trip since he was first paralyzed. He began seriously planning the trip two years ago.
“People who have intense spinal cord injuries, there’s a lot of fear and a lot of worry that comes along with that, for the individual and for their friends and family,” Wenner said.
Wenner has been collaborating with Outrider USA and other bike experts on the tricycle he’s road testing. It has a powerful electric motor, a lithium battery and specially adapted hand controls. The prototype costs $11,000, but Wenner said a commercial version could go for $8,000.
“The incredible thing about this bike is it allows me and people with disabilities like me to ride,” Wenner said.
On his “Epic Trip,” Wenner hopes to hit the road-accessible outer-most points of the 48 continental states. He expects the trip will last five to six months, and he’ll ride with one or two travel companions in a support van.
Wenner said he hopes the trip will also provide him with a chance to advocate for the disabled.
"I love encouraging people in difficult circumstances to reach their own dreams and potential," Wenner said. "While bringing attention to multiple components of human potential, I will use this trip as an opportunity to talk with people about self-accomplishment despite impairment or traumatic loss."