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Finding Freedom on Wheels: Ann LeVan's Journey with The Bridge

Ann LeVan, smiling in a helmet, rides her handcycle in a race, demonstrating the joy and freedom of adaptive sports with The Bridge.

"This is one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time," Ann LeVan excitedly declares. Ann's journey into the world of adaptive sports began last year, after a stroke that changed the trajectory of her life six years prior. As she navigated her recovery through physical therapy, her therapist, an avid outdoorswoman, opened a new door—one that led her to The Bridge and the boundless possibilities of adaptive sports.

Adaptive Sports Help Athletes Grow

Last summer, Ann decided to step out of her comfort zone and explore adaptive sports for the first time. She started with rock climbing, a challenging but exhilarating experience. However, it was her introduction to mountain biking (MTB) at Lebanon Bike Park that truly transformed her perspective. Maneuvering a bike specially designed to accommodate her needs, Ann discovered a newfound sense of safety and control. "I can actually ride bikes? This is wonderful!" she exclaimed, a sentiment that many adaptive athletes resonate with when they rediscover or discover their potential for the first time.

The Flying Pig Handcycling 10K training group earlier this spring was Ann's next challenge, where she pushed her limits even further. Equipped with a recumbent bike that featured two wheels at the front for better balance, Ann participated in the Flying Pig 10K—an experience that not only tested her physical prowess but also reignited her childhood passion for cycling. The freedom of pedaling in the open air brought a profound sense of liberation.

Ann's background as a trained pianist plays a significant role in her approach to sports. She views goal setting in cycling as akin to mastering a new piece of music—practice leading to performance. This perspective not only enhances her physical abilities but also enriches her emotional and mental resilience.

The race was more than just a physical challenge; it was a milestone that marked a renewed commitment to cycling. Motivated to maintain her momentum, Ann scoured Facebook Marketplace and soon found the perfect bike to call her very own, just 15 minutes from her home in Landen. Her community's support continued to shine, with her young neighbors now affectionately dubbing her "The Red Panda."

The Transformative Power of Adaptive Sports

Ann's story is a testament to the transformative power of adaptive sports and the pivotal role of community support. She credits The Bridge and its dedicated volunteers for creating an inclusive environment that fosters growth—physically, mentally, and emotionally. "That is what makes this community so special," she says, reflecting on her journey.

Through The Bridge, Ann LeVan found more than just a sport; she rediscovered freedom and a community that champions the spirit of resilience and inclusion. >>> Find out how you can help make experiences like Ann’s possible by visiting Motz Moves. Right now through June 21st, you can DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT when you donate through Paddle for a Purpose!


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