Paracycling interest grows as USA Cycling makes return to Knoxville

USA Cycling Championship

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The return of the 2021 USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships has a lot to do with the city being a bicycle-friendly community, and the 2019 National Paracycling Championship left a legacy especially disabled cyclists.

While they will not be racing this year, the competitive nature and grit of these athletes who compete despite their disabilities has left many wanting to get on a recumbent tricycle. Tom Lindquist was once a mountain bike enthusiast. Due to hip surgery, the retired civil engineer now rides recumbent bikes.

“I enjoy being outside and looking around speed is not my issue, but I like going, and seeing this allows me to looking around more because I pay less attention to operating the machine versus a two-wheeler,” Lindquist said.

Trailside Trikes shop owner Andrew Blankenship turned his disability from an accident on the job into a business.

“After a year of using a cane I said to my physical therapist, ‘what are my options?’,” Blankenship said. “He said, ‘Get on a recumbent cycle.’ At physical therapy, I went through that. As a result, I can walk just fine.”

While physical considerations may prevent a cyclist from riding traditional bikes, recumbent models may work better.

“A lot of times on a normal bicycle, the world whizzes by you,” Blankenship said. “When you are on a trike, it’s like going from an old black-and-white, 13-inch to a wide-screen color TV because you don’t have to worry about balance. Now you can appreciate all the sights and sounds that you might have missed.

“Recumbent means to recline and when you recline, you have your feet out forward. and that allows you to do is instead of sitting on a space … you are able to spread that derriere out, like on a La-Z-Boy, and be much more comfortable.”

“Anything that gets people moving again is medicine not only for the body, heart, soul, but the community, to bring people into Knoxville and to allow them to see we are not only a great travel destination, but an active sporting place.”

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