My name is Adam Payne. I am 40 years old and I live in Northern Manhattan. I am a licensed social worker. I have been diagnosed with Ataxia for about 14 years and riding trikes since about 2000. I ride a trike because I love to ride. Ataxia can slowly take away so many things. For me it took away my ability to go hiking and camping, which I loved. I was unwilling to let it take away my ability to bike.
In the spring of 2000, my brother sent me an article from the NAF (National Ataxia Foundation) newspaper Generations. The article was written by Charlie and Jan Channel from East Palo Alto, California. The article, entitled Lay Back and Pedal, talked about the author’s wife Jan, who suffers from Josephs Disease. It starts off with a quote that I could readily agree with. “What I really want to do is ride a bicycle, but that’s impossible now.” Mr. Channel talked about researching alternate forms of bike for his wife. The answer for them was a trike.
I learned later that nothing’s impossible, some things are just harder than others.
I don’t have Friedreich’s Ataxia. There are 28 known variations of Ataxia and I don’t have any of those. There are several Ataxians who ride trikes. Most of them know Kyle Bryant personally and then meet me. I met Kyle in 2006 when he rode his trike from San Diego to our NAF Convention in Memphis, Tennessee. I was walking through the hotel lobby, saw his trike and we started talking.
I like to trike because it allows me to ride. Because I live in New York City I don’t really ride for daily errands. New York is becoming more bicycle friendly, but it can still be dangerous out there. Until this year I rode in AIDS Rides. AIDS Rides are multi-day, multi-state, 300-450 mile bike rides.
A while ago a friend and I were talking about the number of centuries (hundred mile rides) I’ve done and honestly I couldn’t say. It’s somewhere between 10 and 20. I live by the saying ‘disability doesn’t equal inability’. For me this means that I spend my life trying to disprove what people think a disabled person should do. Every summer I ride in the 5 regional bike ride plus many other sponsored rides around New York City. I also rode in Ride Ataxia 3 from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. Summer weekends usually find me off riding somewhere.