September 24, 2011
Since they were passing through Eugene, they figured they’d stop by Bike Friday to see if we could help them out.
You see, Jo Erickson suffered a spinal cord injury that left her with paralysis of her lower right leg and foot. At the time, she thought her cycling days might be over. But Rand found a solution.
“I have no control of my foot,” Jo says, pointing to her right foot that points outward. “I couldn’t ride because my heel would catch.”
Cycling was an important element of their lives.
“Rand and I had been riding for 33 years,” Jo says. “Before my surgery, we were riding every day.”
“Well, not every day,” Rand says.
“OK, then,” Jo says, “I’ll say five times a week for 33 years.”
So Rand, now a retired fireman, went to work in his shop. The result was a platform pedal that brought cycling back to Jo.
“The first one was plexiglass,” Jo says, “but it eventually broke. So he made the next one with steel.”
No, Rand says, he’s not a designer or handyman or metal worker. He just came up with the idea and made it.
“With each of her surgeries she has lost a little more ability,” Rand says.
“I’ve had four back surgeries,” Jo says. “With this last one, I lost a little bit more. So I started having troubles on the bike I’ve been riding for 10 years. It was like trying to learn to ride all over again.”
The Ericksons stopped at Bike Friday wondering if our bikes could offer a solution. Jo took a New World Tourist with a NuVinci hub for a ride. She bought it.
“She can get on it easy and off it easy,” Rand says. “It’s a little bit lower to the ground, so she can comfortably stop and feel secure.”
It isn’t as easy for Jo to get on and off her saddle on most bikes. Getting her right foot out of the pedal can be a problem, too.
“That makes me feel leery,” Jo says. “As soon as I got on this bike, I put my foot down by myself.”
Rand just shakes his head.
“I don’t know why,” Rand says. “But it works.”
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