Rubber, Steel, Titanium, Bone


X-ray from May 21, 2015, 7 months after Jeffrey’s leg was shattered by an SUV driver’s crime. Three breaks, 1 titanium rod, 4 screws, some clouds of new bone. Two days after this x-ray was taken, we left on the Ride to New England.

On the 2013 Ride, we averaged 70 miles per day.  In 2014, we averaged 78 miles.  In 2015, 7 months post-crash, we could average only 56 miles.  How the mighty have fallen!

To an inanimate object—a kangaroo puppet—time stands still.  But animate Jeffrey, whose biking (which is better than his walking) is weaker post-crash, doesn’t have forever to cover 1400 miles (2200 km).  He wants to go fast, like in 2014.  How?


Our ICE Sprint 26, loaded for the 2014 Ride. We didn’t realize until 2016 that the machine was tuned for speed, not power.

Jeffrey consulted his friend Martín, master mechanic at Liberty Bicycles.  Martín discovered that our Sprint 26 was equipped with high-speed racing gears!  Martín installed new cogs to let us go as fast as ever on level ground, yet with 40% more hill-climbing power.  This is important, because Jeffrey must propel our HPV (Human Powered Vehicle – not the virus, perish the thought!), our gear, and us two, from Chicago’s 600 feet (180 meters) above sea level, to over a mile (1.6 km) high in New Mexico.

We hope the new granny gears (with all respect to cycling grannies) will keep us rolling upwind, uphill, without last year’s “Are you ok?” queries from motorized passers-by.

Another of last year’s problems may be less amenable to solution.  Road cycling takes nerve.  The leg-shattering crash damaged Jeffrey’s confidence.  Now that certain scary, painful possibilities no longer are abstract, hills seem steeper, pavements rougher, headwinds brisker, motor vehicles more menacing.

We’ll push on anyway.  Our curiosity about Heartland attitudes toward refugees Trumps 😉 our fear.  The 2014 crash and 2015’s disappointing performance (we pedaled only 1001 of our planned 1300 miles) are nothing compared to the suffering of asylum seekers.  To us, police are friendly, people are kind.  We have been chased by baying hounds, but not by people with weapons or handcuffs.  We belong.


From The Wall Street Journal: Officer approaching refugees near the Russia-Norway border.

And we have money and supplies to meet our needs, so every penny you donate goes to help Human Rights First.

7 thoughts on “Rubber, Steel, Titanium, Bone

  1. I always worry about some horror occurring. This time I really worry. Both for your strength and the political climate re your cause. I broke .y leg and ankle last year tumbling down the stairs and marvel at what you are doing.


  2. I, too, worry about your physical strength and the political climate….However, you have shown us that if anybody can do this, it is you, with the support of your incredible family. We, at home, are supporting you.


  3. You are an inspiration, Jeffrey. Your compassion and resilience model the best in the American spirit. We are holding you in our hearts–and cheering you on!


  4. You are amazing! Paul and I will be following your posts and sending all positive energy your way. Safe travels.


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