We're Linda and Andy Johnson, from Cazenovia, New York. What began as a blog about a bike ride has become a story about our ride through life, trying to overcome a disease that has had a huge impact on us and on many of our friends.

Our journey began in 2007, when Kyle Bryant originated the idea of Ride Ataxia - riding his three-wheeled cycle from San Diego to the annual National Ataxia Foundation meeting in Memphis. It took two months to get there, and in the process he raised $40,000 to fund Ataxia research and he raised awareness of the disease like no one has before. Well he rode to the annual meeting again in 2008 and we joined him! We left from Sacramento and arrived in Las Vegas two weeks and 650 miles later.

You see Linda also has Friedreich's Ataxia. This inherited disease causes the nerves of the body to deteriorate. Linda (and Kyle) can still walk at this point, but it's getting much more difficult. In addition, speech gets slurred, finger dexterity suffers, and other serious complications can develop as time goes on.

The good thing is that research is more promising than ever! Several drugs are going through trials at this time, with other significant research taking place as you read this. There has never been a better time to contribute to this research! Let's cure this disease - for Linda, for the rest of the Ride Ataxia team, and for all of the others afflicted with this disease!

Enjoy our blog! Feel free to write to us any time. Check out the links in the right column below to read more about the disease and our adventures. And if nothing else, be sure to take the seven minutes to watch FARA's video - we couldn't say it better ourselves.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Butt and Underwear

Andy writes:

After receiving a few complaints about my "underwear talk" on this blog, I've decided to stop discussing the topic. But for those who actually are interested (and I'm sure there's someone out there who cares!), my butt is feeling pretty good - at least that's what Linda says ;)

New Bike and Encouragement

Linda writes:

Picked up the bike yesterday! It's a beauty! Thanks Bicycle Man! Now all it needs is a "Wide Load" sign on the back! And all I need is someplace to ride it! 21 degrees outside right now, with 5" snow on the ground, not to mention the dirt and salt on the roads!

Anyway, the feedback we've received both verbally and financially is SO encouraging! Thank you everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cool Dude

Linda writes:

Here's Andy sporting his new pair of biking shorts. Note the helmet - I think he thinks he looks cool... you be the judge!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Linda on the Bike

Andy writes:

Here's Linda, hard at it:

Shorts

Andy writes:

Apparently you don't wear underwear when you wear those fancy bike shorts. Excellent - it looks like I'll be all set!

Andy's Bike Setup

Andy writes:

This weekend we picked up a trainer for my bike. Now I can ride on my real bike instead of the exercise bike. I was getting pretty concerned that I needed to get my butt (yes, my butt) in shape for this ride - it doesn't usually get the workout that this bike seat is going to put it through. Sure enough, I've been riding on the new setup over the weekend, and boy is my ass sore. I can tell it's breaking in, though, because it gets a little easier each time.

I also got some nice road tires and tubes for my bike, instead of the knobby mountain bike tires that were on it. These look like they'll be excellent! Nice and smooth. I switched the bike over to the new tires, and about an hour later I had a flat on the front. So I have zero miles on the new tires and I already have a flat. I hate to calculate how many flats that means over 600 miles! (of course you math wizards know the correct answer is infinity)

Another thing I figured out now that I'm on my real bike is that I need some new underwear (something a little more serious in the "package containment" area). This biking is getting expensive!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Big Day Today!

Linda writes:

Bought a bike!
Booked our plane tickets!
Ride Sally Ride!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Training?

Linda writes:

So now we figure we'd better start training seriously. What does that mean? There's snow outside, so unless making snow angels is considered exercise, we're out of luck there!

Luckily (?) we have a stationary recumbent exercise bike. So we've been taking turns on that. We each ride for an hour and then switch. So far so good. We each did 30 miles Sunday.

Of course, being the list people we are ... a log seemed a natural thing to create! And so now we each have a log to record the date, miles ridden, time elapsed, resistance level, and weight. Oh joy!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's a GO!

Linda writes:

Great news! Andy's parents sent an email - they'll watch the kids for the whole time! Woo hoo! Looks like we're on!

Now we're not sure who has the harder job - staying here with the kids or pedalling 600 miles!

Trikes

Linda and Andy write:

If we're going to do a bike ride, we figured out real quick that we probably need bikes. Andy has a mountain bike and a hybrid bike - he could put road tires on one of them and use that. Linda can't ride a two-wheeler, so we need to do something serious about that.

Turns out there's a bike shop 3 1/2 hours from here in Alfred, NY (http://www.bicycleman.com/). It's a bike shop that specializes in recumbents and also has trikes.

So off we went this morning. We thought there would be one or two to choose from - it turns out there are a slew of choices! The biggest surprise, though, was how FUN they are to ride. Not sure about 600 miles, but around the block they're a blast! We lucked out and had great weather (and no snow on the ground) so we could try them out. Unheard of for January in Central New York! Anyway, Linda decided on the best one for her - a WizWheelz Cruiser. Andy also picked one out, since they're so cool. He may not get one, but in case the urge strikes. We decided not to order anything just yet. We have no idea if we're going to go through with this or not. We don't even have anyone to watch the kids yet, nevermind any of the other logistical hurdles. Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Should we stay or should we go now?

Linda writes:

So at Christmas, on the ride to Andy's parent's house, I was reading the Friedreich's Ataxia newsletter (The Advocate) and I saw Kyle's invitation to join RideAtaxia... a bike-ride fund-raiser for Ataxia research. When I asked Andy if he thought we could do this, he gave an emphatic "No."

And so, here we are, buying a trike, organizing child-care, booking flights, arranging weeks off from work, and training our butts off. The fact that we don't know what aerobars are or what a sag vehicle is isn't stopping us (although we should probably find that kind of stuff out soon).