No results found. Please try modifying your search.

John Bowders recently suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury following a devastating bicycle accident. Now paralyzed from the waist down, John has no use of his legs and will require a wheelchair and other adaptive equipment for the rest of his life.

Although John has lost the use of his legs, he has not lost his humor, his optimistic outlook on life, or his infectious smile! Everyone who knows John knows that being outdoors and active are critical components to his happiness. Most especially, John loves bicycling. During his stay at the rehabilitation hospital, John has had the opportunity to try handcycling and learn about other adaptive sports and outdoor equipment. One of John’s goals, in addition to handcycling for recreation and fitness, is commuting to work by handcycle.

Updates (66)

May 20, 2020

Hello Friends,

It has been quite awhile since I provided an update. John is doing great! I'll give a brief rundown of the past 2.5 years. At the HandBikeBattle in 2017 many of the Occupational Therapists there noted that John's wheelchair was not a good fit and could cause injuries (some of which he was already experiencing) So, John got measured for a custom wheelchair while in Austria and on Jan 2, 2018 we flew to the Netherlands to get it fitted and bring it back. It has made a tremendous difference for him and we are so grateful. I would also like to note that we were able to use funds from all the folks who have donated to this site to pay for the new wheelchair. So, a big thank you!

John returned to the HandBikeBattle in 2018. The weather was cooler than 2017 with a bit of rain, but race day (June 14) was perfect conditions -- 45F and cloudy to start and approximately 60F, breezy and sunny at the finish. John had an awesome ride and knocked 30 minutes off his time, finishing in 3 hours 44 minutes. He also returned to the Copper Triangle ride in Colorado in August 2018, with his e-assist handbike. Unfortunately, the motor was having some issues that were difficult to diagnose and it quit working around mile 50, making a finish impossible.

We have continued to spend the Christmas Holiday break in Tucson and John is doing a lot of riding during that time. Tucson has 130 miles of paved bike path -- a 54 mile loop around the city with long spurs off to different areas. This path makes it possible for John to ride from our house to Saguaro National Park East without riding on busy Tucson roads. It is an ideal situation.

Last summer (2019) John skipped the HandBikeBattle and instead chose to stay in Italy for 2 weeks of riding there. A number of friends joined us for all or part of the time and John was able to do many of his favorite rides, with routes up to 55 miles. He did return to the Copper Triangle ride for attempt #3, on his new Carbide (custom Italian) bike with e-assist. Our friends Jim and Don rode the entire route with him. Not only was he able to complete the ride but they rode the 9 miles back to where we were staying after the ride! This was a huge success.

John has just finished the spring semester in this crazy pandemic time. He is staying home, except to ride his bike. We are fortunate that we are able to go outside and have had lovely weather for many of these past "stay at home" weeks. After a busy summer of travel last year, we have no plans for this summer. Best to be safe and see how things play out.

If you've stumbled on this page after all these years, thank you for thinking of us and thank you for supporting John. Until next time, sending greetings of gratitude and love. Patti

August 30, 2017

August 30, 2017

Hello Everyone!

What a great summer. After John's success at the HandbikeBattle he decided he wanted to try the Copper Triangle ride in Colorado ( The ride is held the first Saturday of August. We headed out July 30 with our friend Don. Sharon joined us there and we spend about 5 days getting acclimated to the altitude. Saturday was a perfect day, sunny, cool and no rain! John, Don, and Sharon started about 6:40am. Jim caught up with them along the way and they arrived at Tennessee Pass, the second pass and Continental Divide around 10am! I've attached a short video of their arrival. I saw them there then went on to Minturn to wait and check in with John and see if his arms were feeling up to tackling the last but longest pass, Vail Pass. John did want to finish the ride but his arms did not so he stopped there. 52 of 78 miles completed, 2 passes and a knarly climb up Battle mountain! It was an awesome ride! Special thanks to Don, Jim, Sharon, and others they met along the way for helping John up the passes.

Although the latest rendition of the "push bar" for the Carbide is working great after a few tweaks, and was instrumental in his Copper Triangle success, he may not need that sort of help any more. John got his Force 3 hand bike outfitted with a Bionx electronic assist. I've attached a short video of his first ride with it. As they old saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Perhaps I'll be getting an e-Assist, too!

We had an amazing eclipse experience here in Columbia, 2 1/2 minutes of totality. Indescribable! We were able to enjoy south of town along the Katy trail, and rode our bikes down.

MU is back in session and John is once again very busy with his classes, students and meetings. Fortunately, he is still making time to ride and he has a new physical therapist who is pushing his limits. All is good.

Thanks to all our friends and loved ones who make our life easier and so much better. Until next time...


Photo Galleries (3)

Loading Images


December 15, 2016

Did John receive a service dog? I saw the photos with the yellow lab. Sending a big hug from all of us in South Carolina and lots of love. Barbara and family

Barbara Tarka Leonard

July 27, 2016

What wonderful updates! Nice to see you here..

Christine Lucas

May 30, 2016

Dear John,
This news was quite a surprise! From the timeline it appears that your accident occurred shortly after you wished me a Happy Birhtday in Dec., of 2014. Bless you on this journey - I will be following your updates.
Please let me know when you are traveling to York - I would love to see both you and Patti. I hope you are having a wonderful time in Italy. Love to you both, Lisa

Lisa Pickett