Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation Teams up with Zia Freewheelers, New Mexico’s only Adaptive Cycling Program
Turn on your Imagination for a moment: You are 8 years old and all of your friends are getting bicycles for birthdays and holidays. You are happy for them but it isn’t something you get excited about because you have Spina Bifida and your legs won’t let you ride on a regular bike. Quitting isn’t in your vocabulary so you must figure something out.
This is the life of many Carrie Tingley Hospital Patients and this is where the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation comes in.
We don’t believe in obstacles, we believe in challenges. That is why the Foundation donates over 50 specialized adaptive hand cycles to patients of Carrie Tingley Hospital every year. This gives these kids the chance to just be kids and ride their bikes with the rest of their friends. But it doesn’t stop there. Many of these patients/cyclists wanted to take it to another level so they joined the Zia Freewheelers.
The Zia Freewheelers are New Mexico’s only Adaptive Cycling Team.
The Team rides on Sundays, generally on the Bosque trails down in Northwest Albuquerque throughout the spring and fall. They also ride in special events throughout the year, including the Journey of Hope Ride in the Corrales parade on July 4th and at the Day of Tread in the fall.
On average, 20 children ride with their families and the Foundation has a trailer that holds loaner bikes in case someone doesn’t have one. In addition, you will usually find several Foundation staff and board members riding along with these inspirational athletes.
The Adaptive Cycling days aren’t for the faint of heart, and there is a good chance if you are out on the Bosque you will be passed on that trail by a high speed hand cycle powered by a twelve year old.
People are constantly asking what we do as a Foundation. Well, this is it. We find challenges that patients and families are experiencing and we do whatever we can to help them overcome these obstacles.
Eric Shannon is 38 years old and has been riding for 6 years with the Freewheelers. Both he and his brother Tyler have Spina Bifida and have been patients of Carrie Tingley Hospital since they were very young. Eric is now a Counselor at Camp Adventure and he is a true leader with the Adaptive Cycling Program. His longest ride was 106 miles in the Day of The Tread Event. Eric recently expressed how much the program means to him
“Cycling with the Zia Freewheelers is my favorite thing to do. It makes me feel free and it makes me feel strong” – Eric Shannon
Do you have a passion to help our community but you just haven’t figured out how? Call the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation at 505-243-6626 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have many programs that can offer fulfilling opportunities for people to give back.