What might be less than obvious with a disabled cyclist

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Cyclist with paralysed arm on bike path in Ottawa

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Disabilities in riders are not always easy to see.

“My arm is paralysed. A permanent thing and I have learned to live with it. When I don’t have my sling on, I have no flags, nobody notices. It wasn’t hard to move to a bicycle. I was paralyzed on a motorbike and getting on a bicycle was kind of therapy. With just one arm, I have to be more cautious, but I’m going to get another bike because I know I’m enjoying this.”

Photographer’s notes: I was just finishing a day on the bike, clipping along the Ottawa bicycle path to home when this rider came from the other direction. I really did not want to stop. I was almost home. But the sling and the rider were too great. I turned and set off, thinking I would have him in a few hundred metres. It was a kilometre later before I could get alongside.

When I passed him, he was just ending his recovery period and starting to accelerate for another fast session.

We talked for ages. One of the longest chats I have had. It is an encounter like this that makes me glad I use a recorder (iPhone with an app) for the exchange so I can get an accurate transcript later. We talked about everything from Canadian politics to deaf societies to para-Olympics to .. well. We covered a lot of ground.

One thought on “What might be less than obvious with a disabled cyclist

  1. I have a friend with a similar disability and he’s legally blind. He’s at about 4900 miles on the year. He’s adapted his shifters with a brifter and a bar end shifter for the rear derailleur. Both, of course, on the same side.


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