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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.


Rider Profile: Emily


Name: Emily Penn

Hometown:  Dallas, TX

Current Location: Murphy, TX 

Age: 20

Occupation: Student

Club: Cycling Center Dallas

About you in your own words: 

I’m a Reese’s peanut butter cup eating, cowboy boot wearing, Eli Young Band listening kinda gal!


Announcing the 2012 AAI Recipients

We are very excited to announce the recipients of the 2012 Ataxian Athlete Initiative!

The AAI funds the purchase of adaptive cycling equipment for people with Ataxia so they can participate in Ride Ataxia and have cycling adventures of their own.

The AAI program has experienced steady growth in both funding and the number of applications received since its 2009 inception. Because of a strong partnership with The FA Project, Catrike, The Melting Pot, and UVA Sun Systems the AAI more than doubled its impact from the previous year, providing funding for adaptive cycling equipment to seven inpiduals throughout the country.

The 2012 AAI recipients are Crystal Millering of High Ridge, Mont., Hamid Mehrizi of Dublin, Ohio, Nicole Kramer of Villa Park, Ill., Tricia Herman-Maul of Yorkshire, N.Y., Justin Hernandez of Graham, Texas, Mary Dieteman of Douglassville, Penn. and Lauren Williams of Glen Burnie, Md.

Read and share the Press Release HERE.


Ride Ataxia 2013 Dates


2012 was an incredibly successful year with two new locations, a total of 6 rides, 2,230 participants and over $500,000 in fundraising.


Just as important, or perhaps even more important is the record number of people we had riding trikes and handcycles, many of whom did not know it was possible to move so fast and far under their own power.


As we look to carry that momentum forward to 2013 we have set the dates and can't wait to see you there.


Here are the 2013 dates:

  • Dallas - March 23
  • NorCal - June 1
  • Chicago - July 21
  • Portland - Late September
  • Philadelphia - October 13
  • Orlando - November 3


At NorCal 2012 We Ride For Phillip

Why do we ride?
We ride to build strength. We ride to see the countryside. We ride to give ourselves a free pass to chow down at the rest stops and on Outback food at lunch.
We ride because we love someone with Friedreich's ataxia.
We ride because we have Friedreich's ataxia.
We ride to connect with old friends. We ride to remember old friends. We ride for different reasons and for the same reason --- WE RIDE TO CURE FA!

On May 5, I will ride for myself, for my family, for all my friends living with FA, and for my friend I lost to FA. The third annual Ride Ataxia Nor Cal is dedicated to Phillip Bennett. Phillip's close friend Jamie Richards wrote at his passing in March 2011: ‎"Too many of us wait. And wait, and wait. Someday, we tell ourselves, we'll say it, start it, try it, do it or complete it. Phillip didn't wait. He swam and skied. He rode roller coasters. He rappelled and river rafted. He even went spelunking. He made friends. He laughed. He partied. He crammed 72 years of life into 27."

Phil - We miss you. We continue to think of you and we will ride for you.


Shanna Armstrong Joins The Team!

Le tour Ultime was a 2500 mile race on the same course as Le Tour De France.  The difference is that Le Tour Ultime was nonstop, so rather than stopping overnight after each stage racers pedaled through long days and nights toward the finish line.  This race started in 2006 and was cancelled starting in 2008 because many of the winners decided it was too hard.

Race Across America (RAAM) is a non stop 3,000+ mile race from West Coast to East Coast, with over 100,000 ft of climbing.  RAAM is regarded as the World's Toughest Cycling Event.

The Ultraman Championship is a double Ironman and then some.  The race includes a 6.2 mile swim, 261.4 mile cross country bike ride, and a 52.4 mile ultra-marathon run.

Completing any one of these races is a superhuman feat and a lifelong goal for many people.  Some might even compare curing FA to the accomplishment of completing one of these races.

An amazing person named Shanna Armstrong has joined the FARA/Ride Ataxia team and her goal is to cure this disease.  Shanna is super human.  Some say she is the greatest female ultra-athlete on the planet.  She has not only completed all of the above events, she has several first place finishes under her belt.

Shanna's Resume includes:

  • 1st place in Le Tour Ultime, co-ed pision 2007
  • 2-time RAAM Champion, 2005, 2006
  • 6-time Ultraman Champion, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009. Record: Second fastest Women's swim. Record: Third fastest Women's overall time.

Shanna is a certified triathlon coach, physical therapist, and massage therapist.  Shanna will ride with us in Denton, TX  on March 24 and will be available for questions and conversation about nutrition, training, goal setting, and anything extreme.


Shanna has experience in conquering the biggest milestones in life and now she has set her sights on a cure for FA.

Come ride with us!  See you there!


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