Bear River grad plans another charity ride | TheUnion.com

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Bear River grad plans another charity ride

Kyle Bryant is attacking his rare neuromuscular disease again, with another long tricycle ride to raise funds for the battle against Freidreich’s ataxia.

The 2000 Bear River High School graduate and his father, Mike Bryant, pedaled 2,800 miles for two months last year, raising $100,000 in a triumphant run from San Diego to Memphis, Tenn.

Now he’s planning to ride to the National Ataxia Foundation’s annual convention again, starting March 15 from the steps of the capitol in Sacramento to Las Vegas. He figures it will take 13 days to cover the 600 miles.

“I visited a physical therapist a few days ago, and I’m starting to train hard,” Bryant said at his Sacramento home. “We have about 15 cyclists for the ride this time minimum, and I’m hoping for at least 25 to 30 for the first two days.”

Though Bryant’s progressive disease forces him to use a wheelchair, he still drives and pedals his unique tricycle for exercise. It places him sitting down in the middle, with two wheels in front and the third behind.

“This year we have it planned day-by-day,” Bryant said. “We have a tight itinerary we’ll follow to be at the right place at the right time, unlike last year.”

During his Jan. 22 to March 20 ride last year, Bryant found himself with a sore knee outside little Van Horn, Texas. He managed to get to Memphis after a hospital stay, only because a Midland, Texas man altered his tricycle so that he could continue.

This time Bryant hopes to raise $50,000 towards research for Friedreich’s ataxia, for which there is no cure. The disease can cause progressive muscle weakness and coordination loss, diabetes, speech, vision and hearing impairments and heart conditions.

Most people who get the disease need a wheelchair by their late teens and die as young adults, according to Bryant and the ataxia foundation. Bryant noticed the onset of the disease when his ability to make plays in sports began to diminish during high school.

“I am one of the lucky few who still has considerable ability. I plan to take advantage of my ability as long as I can,” Bryant said. “There is an optimism in our community of Ataxians. Many people think that we can actually beat this thing.”

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

Learn and donate

To learn more about Kyle Bryant, his ride to battle Friedreich’s ataxia and how to donate, log onto http://www.rideataxia.blogspot.com.