Training for and competing in triathlons can be taxing work on your body. Even more so might be a bike ride in which you travel from Miami to Spokane (3,200 miles) in 36 days.
Hector Picard does those triathlons and he’s biking across the country to raise money for a little boy born without arms. But the amazing part is, Hector himself doesn’t have arms.
Picard was working as an electrician on a high voltage line when 13,000 volts shot thorough his body. He lost all of one arm and most of the other. But for the sake of his daughter, he decided he was going to live as normal a life as possible. So he started a website called DontStopLiving.org. The motto is, “No Excuses.”
He heard about the story of little Jameson Davis – who was born to a Spokane couple – healthy and happy, but without hands or forearms. So he decided to help.
Picard chose to do something that would raise money and show the family that anything is possible, which is how he came up with the cross-country bicycle trip.
He uses a plumbing coupling that he attaches to the handle bars of his bicycle – that’s what he slips his “stump” through, and he moved the braking system so he’s able to control it with his knee. His bike also has electronic shifting.
A bicycle ride of this length, with or without arms, comes with its own set of difficulties. On Tuesday, Picard had five flat tires. “I used every bit of profanity I could come up with,” he said. But each time, he changed his own tire. “I take my shoes off and I use my residual arm, (my stump,) my feet, and sometimes my teeth and I’m able to do it.”
When he completes the bike ride on July 13, he plans on producing a video to show how he changes a tire.
And a lot of times, in situations like that, people want to help, but he said he has to do it himself. “If I’m all alone, I can’t just depend on people. I have to know how to do it myself.”
Talking to Dave, as he neared the end of his trip, Picard believes he’s short of his fundraising goal. He hoped to total $32,000 – or about $10 per mile. He said that’s not enough for a prosthetic arm for Jameson, but it’s a start. You can find his donations page at DontStopLiving.org – and there’s also a locator, so you can find out where he is on his ride.
If you want to join Picard for the final leg, look for him on SR 195 in Spokane this Saturday as he finishes the 36-day trip to young Jameson’s home.
MyNorthwest.com’s Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.