ALBANY, N.Y. – A bike ride was completed by two men to raise awareness for people with disabilities.
NYSARC, the state chapter of the largest organization that supports those with disabilities, celebrated 65 years at the Capitol steps Friday. It also served as a welcome home ceremony for two men who have inspired others with disabilities.
John Robinson and Doug Hamlin completed a 12-day, 365-mile bike ride along the Erie Canal. Robinson was born as a congenital amputee and Hamlin is a disabled paraplegic. They rode 30 miles each day and were met along the way by other chapters of NYSARC.
Hundreds gathered Friday to welcome them home, and Robinson said he wants others with disabilities to believe in their ability.
“It’s getting out; being active,” he said. “Being an active participant in society whether it be education, employment or whatever it is we feel that we can do. We want to be able to be an inspiration towards that.”
The Glenmont resident said what started as a challenge turned into an inspirational journey and an organization called Our Ability.
“My wife had an opportunity to get me on a hand cycle for the first time,” he explained. “It became exercise for me, and then it became sort of a lifestyle, and then ultimately a way to inspire others towards ability.”
His message has been catching on. Patrick Foote is a Fulton County NYSARC member.
“It’s about the ability. It’s not about the disability,” he said. “You better believe I’ll do it again next year with Doug and the guys all over again.”
Hamlin said the trip was worth it.
“I feel good. I won’t get on my bike tomorrow, but it was a good ride,” he said. “My shoulders held up, and we all feel pretty good.”
Robinson addressed the crowd about the importance of believing in what they can do.
“So if you’re in a green shirt or you’re in a blue shirt or you’re in a yellow shirt, you still have one thing in common and that is ability,” he said. “So I want you one more time to say the word as loud as you can so they can hear you around the country – ability.”