When Christian Bagg, adventurer at heart, broke his back in a snowboarding accident at Banff National Park in Canada, he was left paralyzed from the waist down.
But he hasn’t let that stop his adventurous spirit. Since his accident 25 years ago, the thrill-seeking enthusiast dove right into designing bikes for people with physical disabilities.
In 2008, he started building a bike in his basement in the hopes that his design would allow him to continue pursuing adventure. At first, he was building the bike for himself; but one day, he met a 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who wanted to try it out.
“I fit her up in the bike and tied her to her friends so they could pull her with them,” he told CNN. “Four hours later she comes around the corner. I hadn’t really heard her speak much at that point, but when she got to her mom she said, ‘Mom, that was the best day of my life.’”
It was this moment that inspired him to found Bowhead Corp, a company that specializes in paraplegic-friendly mountain bikes that can perform stunts and tackle rough terrain.
“The emotions I got from hearing her say that was greater than any emotion I had riding the bike,” said Bagg. “It was the moment I realized, this shouldn’t be just for me.”
Bowhead Corp offers different models that are designed to meet the physical needs of different riders.
The range of designs include a reverse tricycle, which is equipped with a 300-watt electric motor and allows riders to sit with their legs spread in front of them.
“I’m absolutely blown away,” said one rider during his first ride on the mountain bike. “It’s pretty incredible.”
Other Bowhead designs include bikes with push handles in the back for riders who need assistance from a friend or family member, as well as bicycles that can be controlled by the rider alone.
(Courtesy of Bowhead Corp)
“Anyone who wants to ride a bike, we will endeavor to figure out how they can,” he said. “Whatever we need to do to get people outside.”
The company has already received over 200 orders for next year, and they anticipate a lot more. Bagg hopes that his design will help people with physical disabilities find adventure despite their challenges.
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