Kids have different proportions than adults. And nowhere does this seem more obvious than with a child’s bike.
Put a little boy or girl on those contraptions, and they’ll pedal the day away with childlike grace. But have you ever tried to ride a kids’ bike as an adult?
Your elbows jut out, your back hunches and your knees splay to the side. It’s a thoroughly uncomfortable experience, one the vast majority of people over the age of 16 would happily shun.
However, one man from Penzance, England, is riding an itty-bitty pink bike across the country. And his reason for doing so will break your heart.
According to the BBC, Peter Williams didn’t purchase the bike in question for himself, as you might expect. He bought it for his daughter, Ellie.
The tragic part of his story is that Ellie hardly had a chance to ride it. She received the bike not long after she was diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma — a rare, aggressive and highly fatal cancer located in the brain stem.
ITV reported that Williams first noticed that something was wrong with Ellie when her right eye started wandering toward her nose. An MRI revealed the presence of the tumor.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas are particularly nasty cancers. Experts have studied them for approximately 30 years, but have had little success in translating that research into more effective treatments.
“The median survival for children with DIPG is less than one year from diagnosis, and no improvement in survival has been realized in more than three decades,” the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health said. “The reason for this stagnancy has, at least in part, been attributed to our lack of understanding of the biology of this disease.”
That’s something Williams wanted to change. Ellie passed away in his and her mother’s arms a mere six months after diagnosis.
Stricken with grief, he was puttering around his garage one day when he came upon the pink bike that Ellie had only ridden a few times. An idea leapt to his mind: Why not raise money for brain-cancer research by taking Ellie’s bicycle on a cross-country jaunt?
“It was a light bulb moment,” he told Inside Edition. “Ellie would have thought I was a bit bonkers doing it.”
Williams began his ride from Bristol Children’s Hospital to Land’s End, a trip of 200 miles, on Sept. 21. Though the trip might seem crazy, his reason for undertaking it is deadly serious.
“If you’re under 40 and you’re going to get cancer it’s more likely to be a brain tumor than any other cancer,” he said. “Less than 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumor survive more than five years.”
Williams is also hoping that he can finish his marathon ride without permanent injury. The ergonomics for a 6-foot-tall man on a tiny bike are, shall we say, less than comfortable.
“I’m going to be standing up and riding it as much as I can,” he stated. “I don’t want to destroy my knees and my back doing this because I want them to last a few more years yet and maybe do another challenge in the future.”
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