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2016 Parkinson’s Awareness Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s
June 2016: 1st diary entry:
Steve Quam is doing what?
He’s loaded his car, just broken in (or is that “broken down “) with only 402,000 miles on the clock, with 2 bicycles, a bicycle trailer & camping gear?
Can he ride 2 bicycles at the same time?
Well, yes I can, or at least, I could.
When I was a teenager, at one time I had 2 bicycleS and I wanted to ride with a friend who didn’t have a bike. He lived 6 miles away. So I rode my bicycleS to his home. We took our ride and then I rode my 2 bicycleS the 6 miles back to my abode. Ya know how ya can ride no handed, steering with your derrière? Well, while I was doing that on the bike I was sitting on, I could move my hand on the 2nd bike from the handlebar to the seat and steer it in a similar fashion.
In my mid 20’s, I helped a friend move. Instead of loading up his & his wife’s bicycleS, I rode them BOTH at ONE time to their new digs. While going downhill, the 2nd bike hit a pot hole and started to get out of control. I just lifted up the front wheel by the handlebar stem and regained control – no problem.
That brings us to this year’s events, demonstrating how to live well, at age 70, eight and a half years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
~So far I’ve enjoyed connecting up with new & long time hosts, relatives and friends. Actually they are all friends which I cherish very much.
First, I want to acknowledge my best friend, Care-Partner & Lover, my wife, Jeanne. Without her support, NONE of my efforts would be possible. All her behind the scenes logistics often go unheralded, but are crucial for these efforts. THANK YOU JEANNE!
Just a few highlights of things up to now:
I’ve spoken to Parkinson’s support groups in Nashville, Tennessee & the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota) with good responses, thanks to my dear friends: Music Therapist Yvonne and Person With Parkinson’s (PWP) Liz. Yvonne has been after me to bring my story her way for years now and the timing finally worked out. Liz, who created the non-profit, “Pedal, Roll & Stroll makes pedaled recumbent tricycles (& other multiple wheeled & multiple people powered vehicles) available and accessible to people with various disabilities. She has organized an annual event/ride bringing awareness to the value that pedaled exercise can bring to such afflicted individuals, improving their quality of life.
Not only did I enjoy speaking to the support group, it was my privilege the next day to assist Liz in introducing & training individuals in this valuable & fun exercise option.
Before we get too far into the diary, it might be helpful to know a few things. As Ambassador, I will use at least 3 modes of travel: bicycle, car, and train. There are multiple ‘events’ I strive to be part of in far flung locales, with dates set by and for more than this PWP. I do, & have done, some seemingly impossible [challenging, gutsy, outlandish] (even in my own mind) things. However, I would challenge the healthiest, strongest, best trained coast to coast bicyclist to stick with me on my impossible for this bicyclist’s (that would be ME) schedule to always reach the next event without the variations in mode of transportation. If you continue to follow my diary, I think you will agree.
I stayed with a first time host who showed me his fascinating collection of about 75 bicycles. I have been astounded at the generosity of strangers, who fast become friends with a common thread like Parkinson’s Disease, living well or learning how to do so, bicycling or motorcycling. God is so good at connecting me with caring, supportive people. Unexpected when I spoke in Nashville, an attendee matched me with his brother miles (actually several States) down the road. Thanks to Roger and his brother.
The next time sensitive event was bicycling several days in a row. Mostly on rails-to-trails multiuse paths, I went about 200 miles in Wisconsin. This wonderful experience was shared with family members and some of their friends. Frequent views of Lake Michigan and also a swim in the lake enhanced this portion of my adventures. It was great to spend this much time with my brother, Dave, and his wife, Joyce as well as the others.
A once in a (my) lifetime experience was a visit to the aircraft museum at Oshkosh (“by gosh”), Wisconsin. This included a ride in a 1929 Travel Air 2 place open cockpit bi-plane. I sat in the front. We took off with a stiff cross-wind (later landing also with a strong cross-wind), and climbed to about 2,000′. The pilot then put it
into an extremely steep left hand turn with the left wing tips pointed straight at the ground. Good thing I was well belted into my seat or I would have been skydiving sans a parachute. He then repeated that with a tight right hand turn. We then did figure 8’s, climbing as we turned and diving while going straight (across the middle of the figure 8’s). The pilot then stalled the aircraft, cutting power while pulling the “stick” back, until the bi-plane lost flying ability. As the airplane was falling out of the sky, he added power and regained control. We then “buzzed” the field, flying over the runway at just 30′ altitude. In times past, this was to clear (scare) cows off the landing path. We came around and landed between the trees with the challenge of the previously mentioned crosswind. The pilot was very skilled, making a smooth landing. He literally gave me the ride of my life!
Check back regularly for more Diary here and at the link above to see the progress toward Steve’s goal.