Losing a leg on a bike, getting back up on a bike

On September 23, 2022, Park Chan-jong (33, formerly of the North Korean Cycling Federation for the Disabled) was cycling along a road that he used to ride almost every day if it wasn’t raining.

A five-ton truck in the second lane suddenly swerved and hit him as he rode on a three-lane shoulder.

Three days later, on September 26, he had his left leg amputated.

Less than three months after the accident, Park bought a new bike.

He kept it in his hospital room and waited for the day when he could get back on the saddle like Jar Jar Binks.

He hadn’t even gotten his prosthetic leg fitted yet.

Pushing his wheelchair with his right foot, he spent an hour a day walking around the hospital for cardio and building strength with one-legged squats and pull-ups.

When he posted a photo of himself with his bike in his hospital room on Instagram with the quirky caption, “I don’t have a prosthetic leg, I have a will,” over 30,000 people responded in support.

He’d been a cycling YouTuber since 2016, but this was the first time he’d gotten this much attention.

“I don’t want anyone to fold their bikes because of me,” Park shook her head as she met with Hankyoreh at a cafe in Songdo, Incheon, on March 21. “

At first, I told my girlfriend, who is now my wife, to sell all my bicycle-related items, but when I thought about it, the accident was unavoidable even if I wasn’t riding a bicycle, because the truck crossed three lanes and rushed onto the sidewalk.”

He added, “I ran a YouTube channel about bicycles, and if I suddenly disappeared one day due to an accident like this, it would be a very bad ending.”

When his middle and high school YouTube subscribers would ask him, “I love cycling and I want to be a cyclist, what do you think?”

he would conservatively answer, “If it’s fun, do it as a hobby, and if you’re talented, do it as an athlete”.

But when he was able to walk with a prosthetic leg in January of this year, he decided to become a full-time cyclist two months later in March and registered with the Jeonbuk Disabled Cycling Federation.

It’s hard to resist requests from prosthetic leg and bicycle companies to become an ambassador, but he wanted to give back by playing as an athlete who can give hope to amputees.

“A prosthetic leg costs about 30 million won, and you have to get a new one every five years,” he says.

It’s a lot of money for an amputee, but considering their difficulties, I have no choice but to try harder,” he said.

It is difficult to find information about paracycling in Korea.

That changes when you become an athlete.

The experience of competing at the UCI Para-Cycling World Cup in Ostender, Belgium, last May was exhilarating. 온라인카지노

Watching athletes from other countries not only inspires him, but also gives him courage and “practical tips.

“I bumped into Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medalist Darren Hicks (AUS) at a restaurant near the venue and told him, ‘You’re the reason I’m here, dreaming again,’ and he clapped for me.”

“Todd Key (USA) said to me, ‘You’d have a much better chance if you competed in the C2 class, where your amputated leg is fixed to the body of the bike and you pedal with only one leg, rather than the C3 class, where you wear a prosthetic leg and pedal with both legs.’

I’m planning to switch classes for my next race.”

Park won silver medals in four events at the 43rd National Paralympic Games in November: the 3-kilometer track individual pursuit, team sprint, 22-kilometer individual road race, and 61-kilometer individual road race.

When asked what he hopes to achieve as a paracyclist, Park said, “I would like to be selected for the national team and win a gold medal at the Nagoya Para Asian Games in 2026 and compete at the Paralympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028.”

There are also goals he hopes to achieve as an individual, not as an athlete.

“I want to beat my personal best time of 5:10 for the uphill run up Namsan Mountain in Seoul, which is still on Strava,” he says. “

It’s currently in the mid-seven-minute range, and if I break it, I’ll be able to say I’ve surpassed myself.

“I want to do all the activities that I can do with my legs again, and I plan to try swimming, running, and triathlon gradually,” Park said.

He plans to start with a 10-kilometer marathon next year and gradually increase the distance, eventually running a full marathon in Boston, USA.

“If I come in at around four and a half hours, I’ll get first place in my disability category, and the prize money is $3,000 (about $3.9 million), which will pay for my round-trip flight.”

“I don’t want my story to be read as a ‘disability overcomer,'” says Park, who also plans to write a book.

“If I say I overcame it, it means there are people who didn’t.

At first, I thought, ‘If I had my knee, I could do more activities,’ but I don’t think I would have been 10 centimeters unhappier if I’d had it amputated, or 10 centimeters happier if I’d had it left.

I want people to see disability as something that comes with the territory, not something that’s so different.”

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