We all hear stories about people who have overcome great obstacles and come out on top to help others. This is one of them! In the early 90s, Matt Thomas of Newport Beach, California got into a car with a friend who was under the influence of alcohol. It did not end well for Matt as they got into a terrible car accident and he obtained serious brain damage that left him permanently disabled and partially paralyzed on his entire left side.
Matt had a long road ahead of him working to rehabilitate his mind and body. Matt was given a Hydrobike by his friend Jim Roue a couple of years into his rehabilitation process. Matt says that he would ride short distances for fun. Matt befriended John Huntington of Long Beach Hydrobikes and worked on rehabbing his motor skills by helping with the hydrobike maintenance and continually riding hydrobikes to work out his memory and coordination. When he started out, he was not able to fully ride a hydrobike or clean the hydrobikes by himself. Now he is training for a 26 mile ride from Catalina.
The city of Long Beach, CA and a group of prominent Long Beach Cyclists are going to sponsor a 26 mile Hydrobike ride from Catalina to Long Beach to be accomplished by Matt. The ride is scheduled for May 21st as a fund raiser publicizing "Responsible Alcohol Drinking and Serving".
Matt’s training schedule for his Catalina ride started about 9 months ago. He starts at 6 a.m. with a 5-10 mile hydrobike ride. He hits the gym to build his strength and endurance and has worked up to running 5Ks, all while riding his hydrobike for exercise everywhere. Ray Buresch, CEO of FunWatercraft, sold Matt his second hydrobike already. “He has literally worn out his first one (which is very hard to do).”
Matt is using his enthusiasm for hydrobiking in some extraordinary ways. Matt has started up a charity, Positive Matters to help people with disabilities become more independent through unique recreational activities. He has partnered with Long Beach Hydrobikes and has started offering special hydrobiking opportunities for people with disabilities. Matt states, “I see the hydrobikes becoming large for everyone to use in different ways and matters. In the next five years Positive Matters should be excelling even more with putting abilities into disabilities, due to the positivity the hydrobikes can give you.”
Matt's best advice for people who are working to rehab their body and mind is to never give up the thoughts of getting better. “So keep the positive determination through all the matters you face.”
It is amazing to think how far Matt has come in such a short time. We will be following Matt’s 26 mile hydrobike ride. To show your support for Matt, log onto our Hydrobike Facebook fan page and post your words of support, encouragement, and cheer him on for his big event.
For More Info on Matt, please check-out this YouTube Video
Ray's Maintenance Tip
Ever heard of an "Ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure?"
A little maintenance on your hydrobike during it’s lifetime will make it “live” for decades.
I would like to call attention to the seat post, seat post clamp and the handle bar stem. They can freeze in place, especially in salt water conditions if they are not serviced for years. We see this when one rider uses the bike and never changes the position of the seat for a period of years, but then for some reason wants to adjust seat height only to find it is frozen in place. The handle bar stem (commonly called the gooseneck) can also freeze into place where the handlebars attach to the rudder. If not serviced for years, it is impossible to remove the handle bar stem thereby making it impossible to remove the rudder from the frame. At least once a season, make sure to move your seat to different heights, tighten the seat post clamp and oil and tighten the handle bar head bolts.
These tasks and the other Maintenance Tasks included in the Protocol are simple, inexpensive ways to avoid long-term problems with expensive solutions. So -- again -- Let's see… an "Ounce of Prevention."