Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

This End Up

Mile Marker 262:

Coming home hasn’t felt this good since November 8, 2010.

On that evening, I arrived home in the dark, pulled my bike through the alley to its backyard parking spot, unloaded my binders from school, and hung up my coat and helmet inside the house.

While I don't remember the specifics of that night,  I do know that the very next morning my world turned upside down. 

My bike and I were lying in the street – APART. 

In the time that’s elapsed since that morning, figuring out which way is UP has become very, very difficult.

PT Julie says goodbye  -- to my bike!
(She'll see me next week!)

But last night I rode my bike 3 blocks home from the rehab gym.

See the dramatic, departing video here :)

I wasn’t alone.  My cousin Tracy trailed me like an athletic trainer and protective mom all rolled into one. I stayed on the sidewalk, and waited at each corner like any dutiful toddler!

When we approached a cracked, bumpy patch of pavement, Tray advised me – take weight off, keep your wheel straight –  things my body instinctively knows but now struggles to execute.  I bounced lightly.  I positioned my feet.  I held tight to the handlebars.  I focused with every ounce of my body weight.

But after a confusing, topsy-turvy year, I can tell you this:

Being on my bike is THE RIGHT WAY!

Near home, I rode a victory lap around the block because... well, I COULD.  

As I bumped over the crooked, slanted sidewalks, I shouted, “I'M RIDING MY BIKE!   I'M RIDING MY BIKE!"

I couldn't help it.  It was 50 degrees, I was jacketless, and the sun was setting in pink and purple stripes across the South Philly sky.

My right leg pushed its pedal, and my left leg pulled, and I knew this what my body was meant to do.   I just had to tell everyone!

Of course, my neighbors had their windows closed.  After all, it is December.

But Eleanor happened to lean out her front door as I rode past her house.  Her mouth rounded into a surprised “O,” and her right hand came dramatically to her heart.

Her words came out in a breathless flurry.

“I saw someone riding up the street, and I thought it was you, but then I thought NO, IT COULDN’T BE!!!” 

“It’s me,” I said.

And it was absolutely, positively true.

Yes, I still can’t ride alone.  My balance isn’t strong or practiced enough to support me among street traffic.  And truly, getting my Genium’s foot onto the pedal is challenge enough for now.

But as 2011 rolls to a close, I've discovered a new slice of life that feels very much like home.

This End Up.  

Happy New Year!


  1. Yay, Team Rebecca!!!!!!!!!! Your post put a HUGE smile on my face. Happy New Year to you, and many miles of happy biking!
    PS - does the biking count toward your miles? If so, when are you going to invite your friends to bike a few with you???

  2. Pure awesome. Thank you so much for calling me yesterday and letting me share in the joy of your victorious ride. I'm still beaming from that. LOVE the photos! Will be thinking of you as we cross into the new year. Can't wait 'til I can ride with you again!

  3. Amazing.....you are incredible and Happy New Year!

  4. You look great! Happy New Year my friend. I will call you later.

  5. What a treat reading about your ride and seeing you on the bike!! You put so much into moving forward and I am in awe of you. Happy new year!!

  6. Your amazing! And so are your friends and family! Happy New Year!

  7. Holy cow! I'm sitting here blubbing with joy! That video was great...You are one amazing woman!

  8. We take so many things for granted - like riding a bike. Sometines its hard to imagine the challenges you face. It was great to hear you say,"I'm riding my bike home." Good for you! And thanks to Tracy for being your support team.