The ride of a lifetime

Adam Beck Brunk (left) and his brother Issac (right), take a practice ride on the tandem recumbent bike they will ride for the upcoming RAGBRAI. (Photo by Autumn Beck Brunk)

Grundy Center native Adam Beck Brunk knows all about what it’s like to be defined by a physical disability – but an upcoming RAGBRAI ride will help him prove that not even the biggest challenges can hold him back from accomplishing something he’s put his mind to.

Born with severe epilepsy, as well as cerebral palsy - a neurological disorder that impairs body movement and muscle control – getting around isn’t as easy for Adam as it is for someone without a physical disability. His condition makes it more difficult for him to control the muscles on one side of his body, and though he can walk on his own, he often uses a walker or a scooter for support, as his frequent seizures cause him to lose consciousness and fall down, sometimes injuring himself.

Because of this, he often has to wear kneepads, shoulder pads and a helmet to protect himself in case of a sudden seizure and fall.

Adam says he is used to getting questioning looks from strangers and having people feel confused about how to treat him.

“Sometimes, people will treat me differently when I go out. They just don’t know how to act,” he said. “Some people will talk slower to me, like they think because I have a physical disability I have a mental disability too, but I don’t. It’s kind of insulting, but I think I block a lot of it out.”

Or at least he did before. But now, Adam is on a mission to redefine people’s perceptions of disability by taking on the ride of a lifetime.

In less than two weeks time, he will be riding his bike hundreds of miles across the state with a RAGBRAI team called Adaptive Sports Iowa Cycling Group, sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau.

For the full story, see this week's Grundy Register!