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.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Final Outdoor Training Ride

Andy writes:

We took the day off from work Monday to get in one last ride. It was going to be in the fifties, which is unheard of around here at this time of year. It was great! We rode 15 miles to DeRuyter, had lunch at the Quincy Square Diner, had an interview with NewsChannel 9, and rode all the way back home for a total of 30 miles! Now for a few details...

Although it was relatively warm and often sunny, the wind was incredible (it hit 40 mph at the house while we were out)! Luckily (?) we were directly into the wind during the ride out in the morning, and coming back we were with the wind. We've never ridden in such a strong wind. I was actually almost blown over a couple of times when it was from the side! So we only made about 5 mph in the morning, but we did much better than 10 mph on the way back. All in all it was great, and we felt great too!

During lunch, the Channel 9 news crew met up with us to do an interview. Since the weather was so nice, they did the interview outside with Linda on her trike, and they got a whole pile of footage of us riding. Ania Prybyla did the interview and it will be on with Carrie Lazarus, but probably not until next Thursday (the day we fly to California). It seemed to go well, and I'm sure they'll do a great job putting it together. We'll let you know when it will be on. Thanks, Ania!

Oh, and while we were at lunch with Channel 9, a guy overheard us and came over and gave us a donation on the spot! That was so nice! Thanks, unknown guy! And two other people on the street had read about us in the paper and knew everything about us also! Celebrities, I tell you, celebrities!

Then we rode home, with the wind! The sun was shining brightly! It was warm! We had a great ride. We only stopped once, when we went through the town of New Woodstock, just to let some cars go by. Linda pulled in and swung around real cool-looking on her trike! I swung in next to her in my awesome bike outfit! We looked great! Right up until I didn't get my pedal unclipped in time and I fell right over on top of Linda! The couple standing on the sidewalk said it was the most excitement they've had in quite a while!

My only (physical) trouble has been a pain above my right knee that doesn't seem to be going away. Funny - my bad knee feels great, my good knee is giving me some trouble. I don't think it's anything to worry about though. Linda's only physical trouble is the giant bruise on her leg from my handlebar when I fell on her!

Now we pack up the bikes and get them shipped. Stay tuned!

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