Every road cyclist has a story of their close call with a vehicle. With distracted driving on the rise, I worry about the possibility of getting hit every time I swing my leg over the saddle. Wearing bright colors, using front and rear daytime running lights, as well as a rear radar, contribute to a safer ride. But sometimes, your luck runs out.
For Dee Palagi, that day was back in 2016 on her downtown Chicago commute. A semi-truck made a righthand turn and ran her over. The accident resulted in substantial injuries, including a fractured pelvis, nerve damage to her arm, and the amputation of her right leg below the knee.
Even with so much trauma to her body, Dee yearned to get back on her bike, but modifications were necessary. Like Mary Kate Callahan, who I interviewed a few months back, Dee discovered Dare2tri. Coaches at the non-profit helped her figure out how to clip in and ride a bike with a prosthetic leg. It was trial and error that included several falls, but Dee is out biking. And she’s clipped in on both pedals!
Turning a tragedy into triumph, Dee is not only cycling but with the coaching and training received through Dare2tri, before the pandemic, she competed in several triathlons. As COVID restrictions lessen, pools start opening, and triathletes gather at the start line, Dee will race again, but in the meantime, she’s loving her bike.
Even after a tragedy like Dee’s, a true cyclist will return to the bike. Bikes challenge you, reward you, and provide endless opportunities for adventure.
Enjoy the Ride!