About five years ago I completed what I considered to be my first long bicycle ride, twenty miles between Independence and Akron, Ohio with an approximate elevation gain of 200 vertical feet. I felt accomplished, exhausted and above all hungry. I treated myself to an extra-large lunch and have been hooked on cycling ever since.
I met my husband Doug after overhearing him discuss his plans to bike across Alaska. Intrigued, I introduced myself and we chatted briefly. Later that day he called me and invited me to join him on a bicycle ride.
Doug was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eleven years ago. In 2008 he completed a cross-country tour, thinking it would be his last great ride. That ride proved to be a sunrise, not a sunset. His greatest cycling feat was in 2011 when he rode more than 900 miles solo and unsupported from Prudhoe Bay, to Anchorage, Alaska.
It was an adjustment for Doug to let go of being completely self-sufficient during RTR in 2012. He rode with panniers carrying everything he could possibly need and then some. I slowly persuaded him to lighten the load each day.
Riding helps lessen Doug’s Parkinson’s symptoms. Cycling has been shown to temporarily improve writing, coordination and balance in Parkinson’s patients.
We are riding to support the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s. The foundation is run by an awesome group of people who inspire and help people living with Parkinson’s to live well.