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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 (65)

September 2, 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…

September 6, 2017

Photo Galleries (2)

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January 21, 2017

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

June 6, 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

March 14, 2016

Is this about time for celebrating a birthday, an amazing birthday? Zhu ni shengri kuaile!

Marty Patton