CHOOSING TO SEE: A BLIND ODYSSEY
THE RIDE OF A LIFETIME
ON MAY 17, the team will be dipping their tires in the Pacific Ocean and begin pedaling east to the Atlantic Ocean. The team will have three riders:
This team is hopeful that they will be joined by other cyclists along the way as they cross the country!
The route, which starts in Oregon, will cover roughly 3800 miles to the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia.
This journey will include visits to schools for the Blind and connections with first responders, veteran organizations, disability advocates, cycling communities, and anyone who is looking to be inspired and energized by this dynamic team.
MEET THE TEAM
Shawn is a US Army veteran and former paramedic. She is completely blind. Shawn represented the USA in the Rio Paralympics as a tandem cyclist. She is a world record holder for the fastest rim to rim to rim crossing of the Grand Canyon by a blind athlete: 24 hours, 15 minutes. Follow her adventures on Facebook & Instagram.
Jesse is a chemistry professor in Connecticut and has guided Shawn on many adventures since 2012, including the record-breaking Grand Canyon hike. Jesse has completed many different types of events with Shawn including, cross country skiing, marathons, and bike rides.
Steve is a US Army veteran and bilateral below knee amputee from injuries received from an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2008. He is also a retired Arizona State Trooper. He was the first double amputee officer in AZ and one of only a small handful ever to work in that capacity in the USA.
HOW IT STARTED
Shawn and Steve started talking about a cross country bike together back in 2014. However, with her competition schedule, they just never found the time.
After having a year off from professional racing due to COVID-19, Shawn needed another great adventure that will ultimately break through barriers of limitations placed on individuals with various challenges. So here they are embarking on a cross-continent cycling adventure!
When Shawn and Steve started planning this ride, originally the idea was to do this on a tandem bike. A blind athlete and a bilateral below knee athlete cycling from coast to coast...sounds cool!
Well, one minor plot twist is that now Shawn will be riding her own bike. Remember, she is COMPLETELY BLIND!
HOW WILL THEY DO IT?
Getting safely from one side of the country to the other will be strenuous, challenging and mentally exhausting for all. Jesse, Shawn’s bestie, will ride in front of Shawn while a Bluetooth speaker is connected to his seat post playing music for Shawn to follow. Steve will be riding behind Shawn and all three will be wearing 2-way radios so that they can share bad jokes and give constant feedback. They describe everything: road conditions, terrain, if the road is moving left or right, and of course, any hazards in their path.
To complete this inspiring and unprecedented journey, Shawn, Steve, and Jesse need your help. Donate now to support their efforts to cross the country and inspire people along the way.
We are seeking support for everything from spare tubes for the bikes to an RV and support person to ensure the fridge is stocked with snacks and sports drink as we pedal every day.
TRACK THE RIDE & CONTACT THE RIDERS
A BLIND ODYSSEY
On May 17, 2021, Shawn Cheshire, a blind female Paralympian and Army veteran embarked on an unprecedented journey: to ride a single bike across the United States, coast to coast, 3800 miles.
No blind athlete has ever attempted it before.
Choosing to See will document this incredible test of spirit and grit while telling the multi-faceted story of an extraordinary woman, Shawn Cheshire, who chooses to live life not defined by her loss and trauma but by the power of self-belief.
The film will blend intimate verité with animation and sound design sequences that bring viewers viscerally into Shawn’s experience navigating the world as a blind woman, and the remarkable ways she breaks barriers and limitations to live an independent and empowered life.
Stay tuned for more!