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CNS Patient Returns to His Passion of Cycling

CNS Patient Returns to His Passion of Cycling

CNS Patient Returns to His Passion of Cycling

In the summer of 2016, Ray Ydoyaga was training for an upcoming 250-mile bike ride in Europe. The avid cyclist had done this before, completing challenging routes in the Czech Republic, Montenegro, England, France, and Croatia. However, on August 1st, Ray had a cycling accident, leaving him with a severe spinal cord injury.

“Will I ever walk again?” He asked himself.

Ray began inpatient treatment at Centre for Neuro Skills’ San Francisco location in October 2016, after several months in the hospital. When he first arrived, Ray did not have the strength to stand or push his wheelchair.

Ray slowly started transitioning to walkers after three months of physical therapy and practice walking on the ZeroG Gait and Balance training system, Then in April 2017, Ray’s therapists invited Ray to join the CNS adaptive cycling group, held at the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program’s (BORP) Adaptive Cycling Center. They organized the group as a therapeutic activity for patients identified as physically able.

“We established a relationship with BORP’s Cycling Director, Greg Milano, around five years ago,” said Albert Santa Cruz, Ray’s case manager. “We take a group of two to five patients to BORP Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some patients go twice, some go once, depending on their treatment plan.”

At BORP, Ray was fitted on an adaptive bike, which had three wheels and was lower to the ground.

“I was on my tricycle for my first ride,” Ray said. “It was exhilarating - the first joyful thing I had done since my accident.”

CNS patient rides ATV in Morrocco. After the first ride, Ray stuck with it and began going to BORP every week with CNS’ cycling group. Soon after, Ray began practicing on a two-wheel bike in the hallways of the CNS clinic. Then they practiced riding around the perimeter of the CNS building. Before long, Ray progressed to peddling around the parking lot without assistance. A milestone was realized when he was able to ride an upright bicycle again.

Today, Ray lives an active lifestyle that includes traveling, Pilates, outdoor cycling a few times each week and traveling. On his most recent trip to Morocco in November 2022, Ray enjoyed riding ATVs with his friends – an experience he never thought would be possible after his injury.

 “My outcome was against extreme odds. The reason I am mobile with a spinal cord injury is because CNS is creative and adaptive in their techniques.”