Home > Adaptive Sports > 2015 Cycle to the Sea: A Rider’s Perspective

Author’s note:  We asked Aaron Harper to share his perspective as a volunteer at this year’s “Cycle to the Sea”, an annual 3-day ride from Charlotte to North Myrtle Beach to benefit the Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program (ASAP) at Carolinas Rehabilitation.  Thanks, Aaron, for sharing your first-hand experience!  Well done!

Shifting into the highest gears on the road bicycle is always a great feeling. 

Beginning the flight down a huge hill, accelerating through 30+ mph.

Sensing the exhilaration with the spasms of anxiety knowing that the climb ahead is going to challenge every muscle fiber in your body.

As you begin the ascent, you down shift a few more gears than you would normally adjust to, knowing that you’ll need them very soon. 

You initiate the very delicate balancing maneuver beginning the standing climb on your bike, holding on to your handle bars with your left hand and grasping your cycling partner’s push bar with your right hand.

You and your partner are now one team with one mission; to cycle 180 miles over three days together from CMC Union in Monroe to the Prince Hotel in North Myrtle Beach. 

When your muscles are screaming at you telling you to stop pushing, your mind’s battle begins. 

Do you complain about how much you’re hurting or do you suck it up and realize how difficult and challenging it is for your cycling partner (who happens to be paralyzed from the chest down)?

Imagine completing a 180 mile cycling event without the use of your legs.  Imagine that you’re basically pushing your hand cycle by doing tens of thousands of push-ups and lat pulls. Imagine that you have to constantly shift your head from left to right because your gears and handle bars are obscuring your vision.  Imagine the determination, will, courage, strength and stamina that you’ll need to accomplish this mission. Imagine the pride, sense of triumph that you will feel completing this event.  If you can imagine these things, you can imagine Carolinas Rehabilitation Adaptive Sports & Adventures Program’s Cycle to the Sea.

From April 23rd – 26th, 2015, 13 hand cyclists, 22 able bodied riders and 3 children pushed their way to N. Myrtle Beach while 10 motorcyclists and 10 volunteers provided a safety escort and support throughout the ride.  Cycle to the Sea raised over $74,000.

Cycle to the Sea is a unique ride that raises funds and awareness for the Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program (ASAP) at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Carolinas Rehabilitation. This bike ride is held every year and involves athletes with physical disabilities who cycle on hand cycles and/or tandem bikes. Each rider must obtain individual pledges in order to participate.

For more information: http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/rehabilitation-asap

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