#1 Ryon Mabey
32-year-old Ryon Mabey of Salt Lake City kicked off the journey by cycling 330 miles from Santa Monica, CA to Las Vegas, NV. At home, Ryon volunteers at a soap factory operated by the Mormon Church and is seeking full time employment. He suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as the result of an auto accident in Orange County, California in the fall of 2006. After withstanding a full month in a coma, Ryon woke up to find severe neurological damage impaired his ability to walk and talk. Luckily, Ryon's high-spirit and optimism contributed to a dramatic recovery. With the help of his mother and doctor, Ryon was able to redevelop oral transmission and ambulation fairly successfully and though he still finds communication difficult it's clear in any conversation that he's not short on interesting things to say. Walking is also something that Ryon is working to perfect. Though his legs are physically able he still struggles to manage equilibrium, which stems from chronic problems with double vision and a partially destroyed inner ear. Ryon hopes that his participation in this documentary will bring awareness to the not so well publicized disability resulting from TBI.
#2 Carlos Terrazas
This 22-year-old visually impaired aspiring triathlete cycled 520 miles from Las Vegas, NV to Salt Lake City, UT through the hottest portion of the journey. Carlos, born in Juarez, Mexico, moved with his family to Las Vegas when he was two. The bright-lights-big-city atmosphere inspired him to take up studying entertainment engineering at a local Las Vegas community college. Carlos' visual impairment is the result of a premature birth. The retina in his right eye is completely detached, but a partially detached retina in his left eye permits limited vision which enables him to pick up colors and basic outlines. He uses a monocular to see in more detail. Despite his visual impairment, Carlos is training for triathlon with the help of his friend and trainer who runs and swims alongside him guiding when necessary. This project came at an opportune time, since it will kick start the cycling part of Carlos' training regime.
#3 Warren and Chad Woodbury
Warren and Chad Woodbury are from Deweyville, Utah, and part of a very special family. Five out of six members are genetic recipients of myotonic muscular dystrophy. MMD not only affects muscular deterioration of the skeletal frame but also extends to basic organs such as the tongue, the lungs and the stomach. This makes it very difficult for carriers of MMD to participate in sports at any level let alone perform simple activities, which rely on fine motor skills. Nonetheless the Woodbury's have found many other ways to entertain themselves and are enthusiastic when it comes to singing and writing. The journey provided them an opportunity to live out adventures which they normally only experience through video games. Both Chad and Warren have sleep apnea and sleep with breathing devices known as a Bi-Pap, which are supported on this journey by Goal Zero's solar paneled portable battery. Warren cycled for one day in part of Utah (the shortest time spent on the journey), and Chad cycled for 22 days the longest time spent on the bike. He cycled 770 miles from Salt Lake City, UT to Rapid City, SD. He affiliates himself with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America, Common Ground (local Utah Organization for outdoor recreation).
#4 Kelly Lane
Kelly is a retired 8th grade science teacher who doesn't let much get him down - not even his Parkinson's Disease. Known around his hometown of Rapid City as the father of kayaking, Kelly jumps at any chance to continue outward bound activities despite his condition. He was first diagnosed with Parkinson's 15 years ago while still teaching at Douglas Middle School. More than ten years after continuing to teach with the disease he was bestowed the Presidential Teacher's Award of Excellence. Just two months before joining this journey, he received a Deep Brain Stimulator, an implant designed to deliver electronic impulses to his brain which helps control the shaking and jerking caused by the impairment. This along with various pharmaceutical drugs, has afforded him more control than ever over his Parkinson's. Kelly was very excited to get on a bicycle again for this trip. He hopes to prove that daily physical activity and exercise can help diminish the side effects of Parkinson's disease. He cycled for 610 miles from Rapid City, SD to Minneapolis, MN through the windiest conditions of the trip. He even completed a century ride, cycling 104 miles in one day with Dom.
#5 Rachel Swanson
31-year-old Rachel Swanson from White Bear Lake, MN, is ready to surprise us all. We first came across Rachel after visiting specialty bicycle store Bicycle Bill's in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rachel patronized the store to purchase a hand-bike for her recreational activities at home. She was born with Cerebral Palsy which severely limits her mobility and speech communication. She overcomes this impairment by having a spirit that reaches the sky. Rachel was the only non-verbal companion on the journey and primarily used a speaking device which she programmed to speak for her, as well as a chart which she would point to explain short thoughts. Her laugh was infectious and was the only way that Dom knew she was doing OK on the journey. Even though Rachel enjoys adaptive skiing and lives independently, her use of a walker added a bit of doubt as to how she would cycle. But after a little tinkering with the bike she proved more than able to complete her leg of the journey from Minneapolis, MN to Madison, WI, over 300 miles.
#6 Judith Rasmussen
Judith joined the journey in Madison, WI, after Dom and crew waited days without having a companion lined up. They were relieved when she joined to pedal the 150 miles from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL. This was her first bicycle trip in over ten years. Judith was born with limited sight due to a premature birth, and ten years ago she lost her vision in its entirety. She has no light perception and undertaking any non-routine activity is a serious challenge. Though she is originally from the state's southern countryside, Judith has been living in Madison for over twenty years and considers herself city girl. Judith works as a massage and acupuncture therapist as well as for the Wisconsin Council for the Blind.
#7 Dianne Jones
66-year-old Dianne, is a real estate agent, wife and mother of two from Lake Barrington, Illinois. Dianne is the journey's oldest companion though you wouldn't know it by looking at her. She cycle over 350 miles from Chicago, IL to Cleveland OH. Dianne suffers from peripheral neuropathy, a neurological disorder that causes her limbs to occasionally go numb and obliterates her sensory perception. Dianne recounts the abundance of times she has crashed a bicycle because of the inability to determine how much pressure she is putting on the handlebars and pedals, not to mention her tendency to tip over on and off the bike. But on the front seat of the tandem bike, she doesn't need to worry about her stability. She just needs to take a seat and enjoy the ride.
#8 Jimmy Klingle
28-year-old Iraq war veteran served two tours of duty and received two purple hearts. Jimmy went to Iraq in 2006 and was involved in a rocket-propelled grenade Hum-V attack shortly after his deployment. He recovered, valiantly returned to Iraq, and was wounded again exactly 365 days later by a roadside bomb. Jimmy's injuries include, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as well as a broken vertebrae, among other things. Both injuries left lasting wounds that make it difficult - but not impossible – to stay active. Jimmy is married with three children and lives in Wooster, Ohio. He joined the Take a Seat journey in Cleveland, OH and spent three days on the bike helping to climb the hills through the rain until they arrived in Pittsburgh, PA, 140 miles later.
#9 Amy Meisner-Threet
50-year-old Amy resides in Queens and is a native New Yorker. She has been living with a diagnosis of Chronic Progressive Primary Multiple Sclerosis for the past 14 years. She is a professionally trained modern dancer who performed with the Alvin Ailey workshop company as well as in various musical theater productions. As an essential part of physical therapy for her MS, she tries to stay as active as possible. In her spare time, she teaches seated yoga and pilates as well as wheelchair dance. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work, and is a member of all three major theatrical unions; SAG, Aftra, and Equity. She is a published writer who's penned literature on the arts and disabilities. She joined Dom Gill for the final leg of the journey from Pittsburgh, PA to New York City, NY pedaling 380 miles. She was anxious to join the trip so she could continue to reinvent herself as a disabled advocate.