Pedaling along on the road to Margaritaville: Zimmerman, Brubaker tell story about a journey with neurological disorders
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
By Lucas Johnson/Staff Writer
If you’ve ever felt exhaustion while pedaling up a large hill on your bike you may appreciate Dan Zimmerman and Catherine Brubaker’s story.
The two have been on their recumbent trikes since June 30 of this year and traveled over 2,500 miles thus far. The journey began in Anacortes, Wash., and the group is set to end the 5,200-mile trek in Key West Fla., in late November.
As if riding across the Rockies, Cascades and thousands of miles of road isn’t monumental in itself, both Zimmerman and Brubaker have achieved this feat while dealing with neurological disorders.
At age 41, Zimmerman suffered a stroke leaving him paralyzed on his right side. Doctors told him he would never walk or talk again, but four years later, Zimmerman is riding across the country on his recumbent trike. In fact, because of the design of the tricycle, which allows blood to flow to the head easier, Zimmerman has experienced a significant increase in recovery.
While riding in Phoenix, Ariz., Zimmerman met Brubaker, both of whom were riding the same tricycle design and were wearing the same jersey at the time. The two exchanged contact information and after doing some reading on Zimmerman’s website, Brubaker was motivated to make a change in her life as well so she committed to the 5,200-mile ride with Zimmerman.
Brubaker’s story starts in 2010 when she sustained a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted. After her injury she had to learn to walk and talk again during which time her life became extremely difficult and weighed heavily on her mentally. Looking for an avenue of freedom, Brubaker decided to purchase a recumbent trike and now after using a walker to help her last September, Brubaker is pedaling across the country as well.
The two passed through Marshall Thursday, Sept. 18, where they made a brief pit stop at Back from the Past Bicycles and grabbed a bite to eat at JoAn’s Drive-In before heading to Arrow Rock and then the Katy trail on their way to Florida. Zimmerman stated he was doing this to raise hope for people who have suffered a stroke or other disabling brain injury.