Adaptive bike could give paralyzed Longmont man back part of his life – Greeley Tribune


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One of Jay Davis’ earliest memories is turning 3 and learning to ride a bike in the parking lot of a church across from his home in Arizona.

For most of his 31 years, Davis’ life revolved around cycling. His family moved to Estes Park as a kid, and at age 12 he got a job printing t-shirts at a tourist shop so he could start saving the $ 2,000 he needed for a bike. Mountain.

When he moved to Longmont about five years ago, he was commuting to his job as an aerospace engineer in the city, often taking a long way home. When not using his bike to get around, he rode cyclocross and explored the country in search of the next mountain to cross on his bike.

“There hasn’t been a phase in my life where bikes weren’t a major player,” Davis said. “Cycling for me was the cure-all – exercise, fresh air, sun can solve mental health problems. It kept me fit and healthy. It has given me adventures every day of my life, whether it’s a commute to work or somewhere deep in the backcountry.

Davis’s ability to ride a bike changed abruptly three and a half years ago.

At the age of 16, Davis began learning to fly airplanes at Vance Brand Airport. After flying planes for 12 years and obtaining a commercial license, he decided to buy his own plane, a Thorp T-18. He had tested the plane and had it inspected by a mechanic, but during a flight on February 16, 2018, Something went wrong.

On that date, Davis was piloting his new aircraft with the guidance of flight instructor Billy Mitchell. The Thorp T-18 was an airplane model he didn’t normally fly, so he brought Mitchell in to help him learn how to evolve his skills to fly this model airplane.

“When we last landed, we were almost done for the day, the plane started to veer off the runway to the right and I couldn’t really control it,” Davis said. “I found out later, after the fact, that one of the rudder cables had broken, the cables that are used to steer the plane when it is on the ground.

When the plane left the runway, the wheels sunk into the ground, turn the machine end to end. Two of Davis’ vertebrae were dislocated in the crash. The Times-Call reported that Mitchell was hospitalized with less serious injuries and later released.

The spinal cord injury left Davis paralyzed from the chest down. Since then he has said he’s struggling, knowing he won’t be able to ride a bike anymore, but an adaptive tricycle could give him the freedom to ride again.

Davis’s friend Quinn Brett of Estes Park lent her her Bowhead Reach, an adaptive three-wheel electric mountain bike created by a sports and recreation company. Bowhead Company. It wasn’t the first time Davis rode an adaptive mobility bike, but it was the best design he had ever seen.

The tricycle is designed so that its front wheels can articulate. Cyclists are able to lean around bends, just like a regular bike, and tackle more difficult terrain. It can also be used on more varieties of trails, as it’s about half the width of other adaptive bikes and doesn’t require a 3- or 4-foot wide path.

While riding the Bowhead Reach for the first time on a trail in the Arapahoe Basin ski area in August, Davis found himself in front of the friends he had been with, down a fire access road himself.

“It was the first time that I really felt like I was cycling again. It does mean something, ”Davis said. “It was the intimate feeling of that freedom from just the wind in your face that I hadn’t felt for almost four years.”

Brett, who has since loaned Davis his trike on several occasions, echoed this. Brett was paralyzed in a climbing accident in 2017. She bought a Bowhead Reach in 2019 and now has two different styles.

“It’s the freedom to play away from home again,” said Brett.

For Davis, having a Bowhead Reach would mean being able to go back on a hike with his wife, Rachel, and their dog, Charlie. It would mean riding with his friends and seeing parts of the world that inspired him to love the outdoors in the first place.

“It’s hard when you have paralysis or some other disability because nature was not made for wheelchairs, but nature was really meant for everyone, not just able-bodied people,” said Davis. “With the right equipment, it can go a long way.”

Two weeks ago, Davis got some good news. He received a $ 5,000 scholarship from High Fives Foundation, a California-based nonprofit that provides resources to injured athletes and veterans so they can get active again. Davis wants to put the grant, which is to be used by the end of the year, toward a Bowhead Reach.

Landon McGauley, director of the High Fives Foundation athlete team, said the tricycles start at $ 15,000 and can go up to around $ 24,000.

“Unfortunately, with everything that fits, it’s a lot of money,” McGauley said in a phone interview from his remote workspace in Canada. “We cover as much as we can. There are so many needs that we try to help as much as we can.

McGauley himself survived a traumatic injury, breaking his back while mountain biking in 2010. He also regained a sense of freedom with the Bowhead Reach.

“It’s pretty wild engineering,” McGauley said. “I was passionate about mountain biking before I got injured. The bikes they had (after I got hurt) I just didn’t like to ride. They weren’t what I considered mountain biking. The (Bowhead Reach) came out and opened all the doors again.

McGauley said he can now cycle with friends and visit the trails he rode before his injury.

The non-profit organization gives four different grants throughout the year to people recovering from traumatic injuries. When Davis applied, McGauley said he “seemed like a great choice for the foundation.”

“He’s an active guy and he just wanted to be able to get back to the mountains,” McGauley said. “That’s why we were able to grant him a scholarship. This bike will allow him to access so many places that his wheelchair will never be able to take him. “

There are trails just outside Estes Park that Davis used as a child that he never thought he would see again. Now he has a silver lining that he can visit them.

Davis created a Go finance me to raise money to pay for a stretch of Bowhead. The grant, he said, will cover about a third of the cost of the tricycle. His Go Fund Me on Friday raised $ 4,910. Any additional money raised, Davis said, will be donated to the High Fives Foundation.

Already Davis is thinking about where he could take his first ride. About five kilometers from the Picture Rock Trail in Lyon is a picnic table, where Davis has always marveled at the view.

“I can’t wait to get him back up there and see him again,” Davis said. “I just want to go outside and enjoy nature. I would like to help someone else who cannot do the same.


How to help

Donate to Davis’ Go Fund Me by visiting bit.ly/3C8wOOi.

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Wiley C. Thompson

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