The introduction by RGT and Echelon of a handcycle and true-to-life avatar is a tremendous step forward on the path of accessibility and inclusion of disabled and adaptive athletes in virtual cycling.
At the end of the 2020 season, Project Echelon Racing, in a joint venture with RGT cycling, removed a groundbreaking barrier to virtual cycling inclusion. Project Echelon hosted the first virtual event dedicated to handcyclists in collaboration with the Tour of America’s Dairyland (ToAD). The response inspired the creation of the first virtual handcycling bike, lifelike avatar integration, and marked a momentous step on the journey toward the inclusion of disabled athletes.
“ToAD has developed an amazing partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America,” states Eric Hill, co-founder of Project Echelon, “and it was important to them that we create this opportunity in the virtual space.”
“We push the barriers and are redefining the space, bringing concepts and dreams held by real-world races to life virtually,” Eric passionately shares, “because we not only defined the boundaries, we removed the barriers.” Removing barriers is what they did when hosting the first of its kind online handcycling event.
“The event was a success, and the energy levels were high,” assures Eric, “but there was still a major problem: representation.”
The editorial board of the respected and trusted worldwide cycling publication Cyclingnews has proven a dedication to the inclusion and representation of adaptive athletes in all cycling venues by highlighting this feature.
Follow this link to the full text on Cyclingnews.com and learn why more of us should be aware of this momentous event in the history of virtual cycling, and cycling in general.
Does the cost justify the benefit to adaptive and disabled athletes? Comment below! Your fellow virtual cyclists want to know.
Athletes who want to unlock the handcycle avatar must complete this online form after creating their free RGT cycling account: https://user.rgtcycling.com/hand-cycle
There are several upcoming events for handcycling athletes, including Tulsa Tough and Intelligentsia Cup Criteriums, and Joe Martin Stage Race. Eric and Frank are also planning to host a North American Championship event for handcyclists and paracyclists.
Competitors may register for these events at: https://www.bikereg.com/52999?fbclid=IwAR3hM3MRZwDU_QuYTa1rDpP71zsQ-mAM_yvAovJDQtiDi8cXTOfCpcDS-Wk
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!