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Ian Mackay is on a wheelchair tour to promote better paths and trails

Posted by on August 22nd, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Very few people would ride 300 miles on a bicycle just to raise awareness for a cause they believe in. Ian Mackay is doing it in his wheelchair. And what is it that he believes in? Better paths and trails so that more people in wheelchairs can get around safely and efficiently.

Mackay started from his hometown of Port Angeles earlier this month and is slated to arrive in Portland (his final destination) on Tuesday.

Mackay became a quadriplegic after a bike crash eight years ago. He understands the value of off-highway paths in large part because he lives right next to one. In fact it was his access to the Olympic Discovery Trail that helped him deal with post-accident depression. Instead of being “mopey” and watching television, the trail gave him a way to explore his neighborhood and enjoy life once again. Now he wants others with spinal cord injuries to have the same opportunity.

Here’s what he told The Olympian newspaper last Thursday:

“On the Olympic Peninsula I’m spoiled rotten because I can hop on a trail and go either way and commute to wherever I’m trying to get to. I have a lot of brothers with spinal cord injuries that would really like to do similar things and often the trail systems aren’t accomodating for wheelchairs so I wanted to demonstrate first off that the disabled and people in chairs do use bike paths and trails and multi-use paths. And by being out there and people seeing I hope to bring some advocacy to that.”

Since he’s been exploring the trail outside his home he’s put 5,000 miles on his wheelchair. Mackay says on his website that he’s a “well-known feature” on the local paths.

Given his love of exploring bike paths with friends and finishing off a day’s ride with craft beer (he ends each days 20-30 journey at a pub), we have a feeling Mackay will become pretty well-known in Portland too.

Stay tuned for updates on his visit as he gets into town tomorrow. We’ll post any meet-up spots on Twitter. Word has it he’ll end his trip in Waterfront Park.

Learn more at IansRide.com

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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8 Comments
  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 22, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I encouraged him to go to Velo Cult for the adaptive bike meetup. Not that he’s on a bike, but it seems like a cool crowd to meet.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      definitely! But maybe it’d make more sense for them to meet him down near the river. I’m sure they’ll work it out.

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  • Adam H. August 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    This is really cool. Hey Ian, what was your favorite pub you’ve drank at on your way here?

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  • Todd Boulanger August 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Way to go!!! And welcome to Vancouver WA tomorrow AM!

    (And thanks for riding on Columbia Street – the I-5 Bike Highway north.)

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  • Hello, Kitty August 22, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Sounds like quite a journey. When I read the headline, I thought he was a minor threat.

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    • Travis Fulton August 23, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Glad I wasn’t the only one.

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  • Pete August 23, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Manu Forti Ian!

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  • Adam August 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I’ve often noticed that you can get around from town to town in other countries without having to touch a road, except to cross it.

    The UK has public footpaths and bridleways between most, if not all, towns. Granted, they are not exactly wheelchair accessible, but it’s still a huge leap over what we have here.

    And I hear the Netherlands has PAVED multiuse paths that roam all over their countryside between their towns and cities. Awesome!!

    Why not a paved MUP between here and Salem?! etc etc

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