• Thu August 04 2005
  • Posted Aug 4, 2005
By RACHEL GALLEGOS REGISTER STAFF WRITER July 30, 2005 Waucoma, Ia. - Most riders end the day with tired legs and aching knees. But Saul Hammond is pedaling with body parts a little higher up. An automobile accident in March 2001 left Hammond with a spinal cord injury and limited leg function, so he uses a hand cycle. The 30-year-old Des Moines resident said this year's trip will be his first complete RAGBRAI ride, but he's been interested in the event since he saw others using hand cycles when his dad began participating in 2002. "I knew I had to have one," he said of the special bikes. He did three days of RAGBRAI last year, two days the year before. "I was just trying to kind of ease into it," he said. He does, however, now ride 20 miles every weekend, either around Saylorville Lake or his hometown of Boone. The bicycle, low to the ground like the ones others pedal with their legs, is a little more cumbersome than a normal bike, he said. "I get passed by pretty much everyone going up hills," since he can ascend at only 3 or 4 mph, he said. But going downhill, he lucks out from a little less wind resistance than others experience. But like those with the aching legs, he feels the pain after the long days. "End of the first day, I was thinking (my arms) might fall off," he said. "And the end of the second day, I hoped they would because they hurt so bad." But six days into the ride, Hammond said he was starting to get loose after five or six miles. He does, however, face a challenge that others don't when stopping in the pass-through towns like Waucoma: He can't get off his bicycle. "Once I get on the bike, I have to stay on," he said. He asks others to help, either by bringing him food or taking him over to a bathroom after riding as close as possible. "For me, (RAGBRAI) is a chance to take out a little aggression," he said. "It's therapeutic." Reporter Rachel Gallegos can be reached at (515) 284-8065 or

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