Recovering quadriplegic rides bike cross-country

Friday, August 15th 2008, 7:51 pm
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther, INsite Team

YUKON, Okla. - After being deemed a quadriplegic by his doctors, a former motocross champion overcame adversity and beat the odds to inspire people by riding his bike across the country.

"It's an experience that I'm real happy to be able to do," Aaron Baker said.

Nine years ago, a motocross accident left the champion in a quadriplegic state.

"The moment that I did strike my head and hear my neck break, I realized and understood the gravity of it," Baker said.

The former champion made a comeback when he decided to ride his bike, sharing his story one mile at a time. His 4,200-mile journey included a stop in Yukon.

"It's taken every bit of the last five years to get to this point where I can actually sit and pedal on a bicycle for this amount of time," Baker said.

Baker said he rides for patients with spinal cord injuries. He hopes to raise $1 million, using the money to open rehabilitation centers across the country.

"It's not a want, it's an absolute need that we provide these opportunities for individuals and their families to go improve the quality of their life if they choose," Baker said.

Baker has a custom made three-wheeled bike equipped with special handle bars, seating and pedals.

"They're really popular in Belgium, England, but here in the states very rare," Baker said.

His mother accompanied him throughout his journey.

"The day Aaron was hurt, I retired my career and my career became his recovery," said mother Laquita Conway.

Baker's recovery continues to inspire all ages, including Paul Long who heard Baker's story.

"You've got to admire his courage and persistence to do something like that which is bound to be difficult," Long said.

Baker is documenting his journey across the country on his Web site, where people can also donate money toward his cause.