[Update 11/20/14: The newspaper just ran a story on the man in this post. The link is here.]
A few weeks ago, I discovered that my city has installed a system of paved trails for walkers and bicyclists, going around the outskirts of the city. One leg of it is just a little ways from my house, a short distance from my gym.
We’re on the edge of town, so just a short ways from my house is prairie and farm fields, making the trail beautiful even right next to the highway. It’s become my new favorite bicycling route.
Today, I saw a guy–probably around retirement age–with no legs, but with a special bike: It was set up so he could use his hands to turn the wheels.
When I was growing up, losing a limb or two meant crutches and wheelchairs. Now, it means prosthetic limbs (Star Wars finally turned to science fact) and special bicycles.
Even autistic kids who can’t talk, can finally communicate using computers, as we discover that autism does not mean mental retardation as we had thought.
What a miraculous age!
From the newspaper article:
Often accompanied by his two black Labrador dogs, Floyd Freiberg is among the most frequent users of the Loop despite the fact he’s missing his legs. A rare nerve and muscle disease caused him to lose both legs by age 62.
“The prognosis I was given by my doctors in 1999 was that I’d only live about 10 more years,” Freiberg said, noting the disease is killing his muscles and nerves.
Freiberg, 69, who is retired from a cabinetry and home-building supply business that his father started, is still with us because he’s relentless about exercising daily to keep the muscles that he still has.
….”I go too fast a pace for my dogs to keep up,” he says, noting his trail speed averages 12 miles per hour. “I mainly take them with me on errands around town.”
In addition to helping postpone the advancement of his muscle disease, the exercise routine Freiberg maintains has helped him lose 30 pounds and rid his body of the diabetes that he once had.
….”He’s very determined,” he observed. “He’ll go out kayaking no matter what the weather or the waves. He’s fallen out many times and his family members have rescued him many times.
He’s the kindest, most soft-spoken gentleman I know. He’s become a good friend and an inspiration to me.”
He often passes me on my manual bike!