Ken Oster loves to ride bikes and has since he was a kid. He’s an adventurous man who likes to travel despite his mobility difficulties caused by a childhood traumatic brain injury.
Ken loves riding anywhere he can, be it in his Northside neighborhood or out touring the countryside with fellow cyclists. He liked cycling everywhere so much that he had this crazy idea to ride his bike all the way to Argentina.
“From about this time last year to early October, I put 900 miles on the road, riding my bike,” Ken wrote in mid-March. “Honestly, that was when I felt most alive. It’s been this way well over forty years, getting where I want to go on my own power.”
But shortly before he planned to announce his multiple-continent ride, he crashed after hitting an unexpected hazard. Ken ended up in the hospital and had to have surgery to help heal multiple fractures in his face.
Ken wrote that he “lost confidence that two wheels would keep me upright. That’s what I miss most. I’ve always been more about momentum than balance. Now I’m not so sure.”
After the accident, Ken wanted to increase his riding safety and found a trike design that can meet his specific needs. So, with help from Dom and Judi from Spun Bicycles, John from Cin-City Cycles, as well as his providers, Peter Smith and Laurie Ogle, they have a plan to build a custom trike to allow Ken to continue to have the joy of riding in his life without as much risk as he faces when trying to do so on a normal two-wheeled bike.
They raised $4,100 in less than a month through GoFundMe to pay for his custom trike, which took about six months to build.
“I’m so very happy! A huge drooling smooch to everyone involved. Now step two, taming this beast,” he wrote on the Smile, Wave, Ride Facebook page in October. “Sooooo much thanks and love to Dominic LoPresti, Judi LoPresti (from SPUN Bicycles), John Myers (from cin.city.cycles LLC), and all of our amazing #smilewaveride supporters that helped make this dream a reality.”
This story was originally published in the March 2016 issue of Reflections, the HCDDS newsletter, and updated in 2017. Sign up here to get Reflections delivered to your inbox.