Just this week I learned of two very different bike rides; both of epic proportions.
Eleven years ago, Motocross rider Jimmy Button (Above, nearest camera.) was a 4-time winner on the Motocross circuit and beginning what he expected to be another winning season, then in one brief moment his life took a terrible turn.
In January of 2000, Jimmy crashed during a practice for the AMA Supercross at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It was not a particularly bad crash, at a slow speed from a low height, but he fell at a bad angle and landed on his head.
Jimmy suffered paralyzing injuries, his spinal cord was pinched and he could not move from the neck down.
Doctors told him he might never regain movement and might never walk again.
Jimmy’s trainer and best friend, Cory Worf, stayed by Jimmy’s side 24 hours a day willing Jimmy to move again.
Three months after the crash, Jimmy moved his thumb; ten months later, he took his first step, and has never looked back since.
Five days ago Jimmy Button and Cory Worf set off together on a 42 day, 2,400 mile bike ride across the USA from Southern California to Florida.
Jimmy is doing the ride to raise money that will benefit the Reeves Irvine Research Center, a California-based research facility devoted to the study of spinal cord injuries.
Jimmy still suffers some lingering problems from that motorcycle crash a decade ago. He can’t sweat, he has difficulty balancing, and he tires easily. But his best friend Cory Worf, fully believes he’ll be able to make this journey from coast-to-coast.
As Jimmy and Cory's epic journey is starting, another is ending. (Picture above.)
After nearly three years on the road, the Vogel family of Boise, Idaho, John (56), Nancy (50), and twin sons Davy and Daryl (13) left Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in June 2008 to cycle to the southern end of the Americas.
The family is now a mere 500 miles from Ushuaia, the southernmost town of the world, and expects to reach their destination in mid-March.
To date, the Vogels have pedaled 17,000 miles through fourteen countries. They’ve crossed North America, Central America, and South America in the 33 months since they left the north shore of Alaska.
The Vogel brothers, twins Davy and Daryl, will have earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest people to cycle the length of the Americas when they reach their goal next month. The current record holder was 18 years old when he arrived in Ushuaia.
The family travels on two bicycles, and a tandem for John and Daryl. They carry everything they need on their bikes. Tents, sleeping bags, a stove and pot, clothes for all seasons, spare parts and tools, and homeschooling materials for the boys.
Speaking of schooling, it is my opinion that what these two boys will have learned and experienced on this trip is an education you can’t get from books or school. An experience that will no doubt stay with them a lifetime.