After a back injury in 1997, Vern Willey first read about the possibility of hand cycling while at an expo in Chicago. Since then, Willey has become an avid cycler and has participated in countless events and organizations across the state of Iowa.
Willey currently owns three hand trikes. The first is a green speed tandem trike originally made in Australia, which Willey received in 2000. This trike was specially designed for Willey and his wife to be able to ride on trails together. The front seat does all the breaking, shifting and turning, while the back pedals have been removed and an extra chain added to allow the trike to be pedaled using hands.
The second trike is a single trike, which he purchased in 2002. This trike is higher off the ground, contains pivot steering and contains a Bionx — a battery operated power assist to help with pulling.
“This trike works better on tilted roads, making it safer on trails when traveling downhill,” Willey says.
The third trike is an orange Invacare Force Series. This is the newest of his collection, purchased just three years ago. The seat is closer to the ground and lies back further. It steers similarly to the red single trike. However, it puts less pressure on the shoulder, making it more of a racing trike.
Willey currently possesses a large variety of equipment perfect for traveling any trail. One of the most amazing things about Willey, however, is that he is not only a successful cycler himself, but that he is constantly encouraging and helping others become involved with the sport as well. One of the ways he accomplishes this is by loaning out road bikes he owns to beginners in order to help promote the sport.
Willey also attends Adaptive Sport Clinic’s events with his trikes in order to allow others to see and experience the sport firsthand. He is currently one of the chairs of the Des Moines Area MPO Bicycle Round Table, an organization which puts together plans for bicycle routes and trails in order to promote safe cycling.
“I am passionate about biking and about other people becoming involved in biking,” Willey says.
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