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Two legs, no arms: Amputee cycling across U.S.
Jul 15, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
A custom-made bicycle is helping Hector Picard ride 3,200 miles in 36 days from Miami, Fla., to Spokane, Wash.
Picard of Fort Lauderdale, a double-arm amputee, is a triathlete, cyclist and motivational speaker who is on a tour to raise money for Jameson Davis, a 1-year-old who was born with no hands or forearms.
"My motto? Anything is possible," Picard said. "I'm giving it my best shot."
He said the high cost of prosthetics is a problem for the Davis family and others looking for the latest medical technologies to help fulfill the lives of their loved ones.
The money he raises will go toward the purchase of prosthetic arms for 1-year-old Jameson.
As he departed from Florida, Picard said the heat index reached 110 degrees. He said a nurse gave him intravenous therapy to keep him from dehydrating.
Averaging at about 90 miles a day, Picard started on June 8 and planned to end the trip on July 13, where Jameson Davis and his parents live.
So far he has pedaled through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.
He said there wasn't much to see while riding in Kansas, but once he reached Wyoming he got to see wild horses roaming the prairies.
He also experienced Wyoming winds.
"The wind is brutal, it was all in my face," Picard said.
He added that he would have liked more places to stop safely along the Wyoming roads.
"There aren't many truck stops along the way," Picard said. "(But) I'm very happy I chose to ride through Wyoming."
He made a stop in Riverton on July 4 for a local loop along Wyoming Highway 789, U.S. Highway 287 and U.S. Highway 26.
From Fremont County, he planned to head to Grand Teton National Park, then Idaho and Montana.
Picard was an electrician working in South Florida when he suffered second- and third-degree burns due to a 13,000-volt shock in 1992. His entire right arm was amputated as a result, as well as half his left arm.
He was 24 at the time, and Picard said it took him awhile to become active again. Eventually, though, he started to run competitively and to swim and bike long distances. He said he realized it was important to embrace life.
In 2012 at age 45, Picard became the world's first amputee to complete the Ironman U.S. Triathlon.
Picard completed the race -- which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike route and a full marathon run -- in 16 hours and 42 minutes.
For his current project, he said he used donations from sponsors to purchase a custom-made bicycle for the cross-county bike ride.
The bike's brake controls are placed conveniently for Picard near his left knee and left handlebar. That left handlebar also is equipped with a custom arm rest and sleeve.
The bicycle has a water bottle with an attached tube for easy drinking, and Picard said he carries tools with him so he can fix a flat tire. He also carries extra food, fluids and three cell phones.
The bike is equipped with a global positioning system that tracks Picard's location.
Anyone can follow his journey on his website, dontstopliving.org, where information also is available about Picard's other accomplishments.