My discussion with Bob Matter at the Tour de Fat turned out to be a very special interview. You see, Bob runs a very innovative and special charity bringing joy and firsts to the disabled. He is the CEO of Assisted Cycling Tours, which maintains their office at 14th and Speer.
Do you remember the first time you ever felt the wind in your face and the exhilarating freedom of riding a bike for the first time? Well Bob remembers and wanted to bring this joy to people with disabilities – all disabilities. Bob’s efforts are rewarded by the looks of delight and bliss on the faces of these he serves. Assisted Cycling Tours concentrates on what can be done. Bob says that all too often the disabled are defined by faulty perceptions of what they can’t do. Bob knows from personal experience with his son that one accomplishment leads to others. He says, it’s not easy and not fast but most rewarding.
The idea for Bob Assisted Cycling Tours came to Bob in 2007 during a cycling tour of Scotland. At the time Bob was a single parent of a disabled child, who he had to leave at home. As Bob peddled and pondered how he could get his son involved, the thought matured. Upon arriving home, Bob lost his job, mortgaged his home and started Assisted Cycling Tours.
Bob’s passion for this mission is infectious. He related story after story of positive results. He told me of a hypertonic girl on oxygen, who participated in a ride at the recent Easter Seals camp. They safely strapped her into the special bike seat so she could experience her first ride. Bob also told me of a 70 year-old man, who had his first bike ride ever from Assisted Cycling Tours.
Bob says that families of disabled persons are often overwhelmed and tend to focus on limitations rather than possibilities. He says these kids (and adults) with disabilities often do not have someone helping them realize their potential. Bob wants to give them a chance for those experiences considered normal to the non-disabled population.
What influences Bob’s vide. You guessed it; his son, who Bob describes as his greatest blessing.
Programs such as Assisted Cycling Tours can’t exist without community support. They are looking for volunteers to help out with their events. To learn more visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/AssistedCycling.
Interview, photo & article done with love by Dale Ralph. A Denver photographer with a heart of gold.