In 2014 Lindsey was attempting a 15-foot drop when she was thrown over her handlebars. She fractured her T5 and T6 vertebrae causing paralysis from the waist down. Her first thought after being told she would never walk again was that she would ride her bike again. Only one year after her accident Lindsey was on a low-riding adaptive trike. She’s now back on two wheels.
Lindsey linked up with High Fives Foundation, a non-profit specialising in providing services to action sports athletes with traumatic spinal and brain injuries. With the help of the High Fives Foundation Lindsey was able to buy her special adaptive bikes she needed to continue with her passion for riding.
She has also branched out into other sports like mono-skiing, surfing and sled hockey. After she was approached by a mother and her daughter in a wheelchair, who were amazed at what she was able to accomplish she knew her story could inspire others.
Lindsey has shown everyone what is possible when we put our minds to something.
Since her accident, her outlook has changed. She no longer feels competitive with her riding, for her the greatest part of riding is the rush of being out on her bike with her friends.
Lindsey Runkel said…
“To me, getting back on a bike was a reminder that I hadn’t lost myself when I crashed that day. I’m still entirely the same person but with a new body to navigate.
“Biking, especially on two wheels, gave me so much freedom back. I ditch my chair, I get on my bike, and I ride just as hard (although my friends might argue that I ride harder) as I was before I was hurt.
“It gives me the ability to forget the wheelchair, to forget that I can’t walk, it puts me back on the level I was on prior to injury. It’s not that I want to escape paralysis- I’ve made my peace with it- but it is beyond comparable to do something I was doing prior to this injury in the EXACT same way I was doing it before- with no feeling of limitation at all.
A huge part of biking for me is also the relationships it brings... Now that I’m ‘recovered’ for lack of a better word and able to ride again I always feel so incredibly loved and supported when I ride.
“A huge part of biking for me is also the relationships it brings. When I got hurt, I was never alone in the hospital and I always had a friend from the bike park with me. ALWAYS. Now that I’m ‘recovered’ for lack of a better word and able to ride again I always feel so incredibly loved and supported when I ride.
“It’s tough riding two wheels because it requires someone there to put me in the bike and take me out - it’s not an easy task. But I’ve never had anyone tell me that they’re tired of doing it or don’t want to help.
“The attitude is ALWAYS one of pure stoke that we’re all out there riding together. If that doesn’t make someone feel so loved, I just don’t know what will.”