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rideATAXIA Blog

In January 2007, rideAtaxia was born when Kyle Bryant and his father began their 2,500 mile, 60 day cycling journey from San Diego to Memphis, TN to raise awareness and funds for FA research. Now functioning as a program of the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), rideATAXIA offers single day, challenging and family fun bike rides at locations all across the USA. From firsthand accounts of Kyle’s inaugural journey to the most recent news about our annual bike rides, the evolution of rideAtaxia is chronicled in this blog.


2017 rideATAXIA Orlando

rideATAXIAO2017The 7th Annual rideATAXIA Orlando was held on November 12, 2017 at Waterfront Park in Clermont, FL. This event is always near and dear to my heart because I have family in Orlando, and we been involved with it since the beginning. This year was really exciting for me; as I rode my own recumbent hand cycle. I also gave a speech as a FARA Ambassador about my personal experience with FA, the encouraging progress of FA research, and most importantly a sincere thank you to the participants of the event.

It was a FAntastic day that welcomed over 250 riders and raised over $100,000. The weather was perfect for riding…warm with a cool breeze around the lake. As usual the food from Outback and Carrabas was delicious! The menu consisted of steak, chicken Marsala, macaroni and cheese, rigatoni, broccoli, and Cesar salad. Cycle Ataxia sponsored the Orlando ride for $10,000. Created in Ireland by Barry Rice, Cycle Ataxia exists to raise funds for FA research. We were honored to have Barry and his father join us for the ride. 

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rideATAXIA SoCal 2018 Dedicated to the Memory of Chelsea Lane

rideATAXIA has become a powerful force in the effort to treat and cure FA. Hundreds of people come out to each ride to participate, challenge themselves, and contribute to the science that will treat and cure FA.

As the momentum continues to build, I am constantly reminded of the people who were there in the beginning before there was momentum to build on.

The power of community is incredible. It is awesome to be encouraged by each other to raise funds or participate in research.

ChelseaLane1But what happens when you’re diagnosed before that community has taken shape? It takes a special kind of person to stare down a dark and lonely situation and still take action.

That’s why rideATAXIA SoCal is dedicated to the memory of Chelsea Lane.

Chelsea was diagnosed with FA in the very earliest years of FARA, before clinical trials, before there was the connected and robust FA community we know today.

Chelsea was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 5 and battled her disease daily. She eventually became legally blind and could not do any activities most of us take for granted, such as self-feeding, bathing, brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, or dressing herself. This disease robbed Chelsea of her independence, her dignity and her pride. Remarkably, despite the grim scenario painted above, Chelsea was cheerful, happy and loving.

Because of this disposition people loved to be around Chelsea and she brought happiness wherever she went. 

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2017 AAI Grant Recipient


Blazin' New Trails

By Joni Moore
2017 Recipient of the Ataxian Athlete Initiative (AAI)

2017 AAI recipientIn the years before I learned about the Ataxian Athlete Initiative, in an effort to remain safe while being active outdoors, I had owned and ridden an adult recumbent tricycle that had two speeds: stop and go. So when I was awarded a 2017 AAI grant and received my Catrike Trail with its 10 speeds, I was prepared to take on terrain that I never would’ve dared to before.

On the first afternoon with my new trike, I took it for a short ride on the streets around my neighborhood, just to get a feel for it. I was amazed when I glanced at my phone and realized that I had gotten up to 10 miles per hour with very little exertion. To give you a comparison, I had ridden my previous trike for years and had maxed out its very limited capabilities at 8 mph…at least its safe-operating capabilities (foolhardy downhill rides excluded).

On the very next weekend, I rode my Catrike Trail to one of the more challenging paved rides in the area. With its climbing hills, sweeping valleys, and curvaceous pathways, this park had defeated me many times before on my old trike, but I was finally ready for a rematch. I started off cautiously, but it only took me about five minutes before I was riding those hills and hugging those curves as if I were on a rollercoaster! After I had ridden all of the paved pathways, I decided to take my trike off-road. I traversed up and down the rolling green hills and zigzagged across a bed of fallen needles between several large pine trees. I felt strong, empowered, and unstoppable. It was the closest I had felt to the freedom and excitement of cross-country running since my post-symptomatic abandonment of the sport 22 years ago. I was determined to make this the beginning of my explorations and curious wanderings about northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

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The ride of their lives - Ride to Cure FA raises money for rare genetic disease

2016 rideATAXIA blog One of the first things someone with Friedreich’s ataxia notices when they start to show symptoms is trouble walking, or difficulty with coordination and balance.

Heather Bonacorda, mother to Blake, 21, and Sophia, 20, noticed this with both her children. Blake, who used to be a competitive gymnast, suddenly “couldn’t walk across the room without holding onto the furniture,” Heather said.
Blake was diagnosed in November 2016. That December, Sophia also was diagnosed, but she said first noticed symptoms at age 12.
Bonacorda, her husband and Sophia will participate for the first time in the Ride to Cure FA, or RideATAXIA, on Sunday. They will be in a team of 12 and tackling the 12-mile bike route.
At first, their goal for fundraising was $1,000, but they have raised nearly $26,000 for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance and expect to raise more money by the day of the event.
Read more HERE.

Keep up with rideATAXIA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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rideATAXIA Europe- Le Peloton de L’Espoir

rideATAXIA’s First International Adventure


"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." --Phil Jackson

ON JULY 1-8, 2017, 21 riders from the United States and 30 riders from France will come together for a 350 mile ride from Strasbourg France to Lentilly, France (a suburb of Lyon, France) in rideATAXIA’s first venture overseas – rideATAXIA Europe, Le Peloton de l’Espoir (The Peloton of Hope). The event will also include a single day ride with multiple route lengths in Lentilly.

rideATAXIA started with long-distance multi-day rides in ’07, ’08, and ’09. However, for the past 7 years, the rideATAXIA program has consisted of single day rides in locations across the US with multiple route lengths. The goal has been to involve as many people as possible; uniting people with FA and able bodied cyclists in a healthy and active way to advance research through fundraising. “I’m excited to do another multi-day ride. The bond built between teammates that forms during events is pretty incredible.” says Kyle Bryant, founder and Director of rideATAXIA for FARA.

rideATAXIA Europe- Le Peloton de L’Espoir aims to unite the patient community in an empowering physical activity, draw attention to opportunities to be involved in clinical research through registration in the Global FA Patient Registry and raise funds for an Association Francaise Ataxia de Fredreich (AFAF) and FARA collaborative research grant. Le Peloton de l’Espoir will also strive to spread FA awareness in France and beyond.

The idea for Le Peloton de l’Espoir started several years ago as a conversation between Kyle and French FA researcher Dr. Helene Puccio. They saw the opportunity to unite two strong FA communities in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research. This idea started to come to life when Dr. Puccio recruited her husband, Benjamin, colleague Francois Piguet and an FA parent, Anabella Saraiva to the team. Benjamin has spent countless hours organizing all the logistics for the ride between Strasbourg and Lentilly- the route, the lodging, the rental bikes. Francois has organized many of the activities for the starting event at IGBMC as well as promotion of the event and creative ways to teach youth and the public about Le Peloton and FA. Anabella, a tireless advocate for the FA community, is the ride director for all aspects of the community ride in Lentilly.

Not unlike our everyday team, in pursuit of treatments and a cure for FA, Le Peloton de l’Espoir is comprised of people with FA, their family, our friends and even some FA researchers. We’d like to introduce you to some of the American riders (posted below). In these posts, they share a little about themselves and their motivation for riding. We look forward to meeting our French teammates upon our arrival in France, and we plan to introduce you to some of them via the rideATAXIA Facebook page. Please be sure to follow our journey there. Everyone brings a unique strength and skill set to the team- qualities that we will rely on when the days are hot, or the climb is steep, or the path before us isn't quite clear. With several unknowns before us- the language, the weather, the terrain, this journey will be an adventure- one made richer by the people at our sides.

Meet some of the US Team:
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