Agnew’s internationally acclaimed advocate for wheelchair-accessible trails and roadways will embark Sunday on his third long-distance ride since 2016 — this time traversing California’s Redwood Coast.
Nearly four years since he attracted international attention for riding his power wheelchair 300 miles over 10 days from Port Angeles to Portland, Ore., Ian Mackay’s goals remain the same: follow his personal passion for adventure, encourage people of all abilities to get outside and push for infrastructure that makes that not only possible but safe.
“So much of this ride is about exposure and demonstrating that people of all abilities want to follow their passions,” Mackay, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since a 2008 bicycle crash, said Monday. “In my experience, people love helping others reach their goals, and this is mine.”
Along with four cyclists and two road crew — including his mom — Mackay will ride his lithium battery-powered Invacare chair 272 miles along a portion of the Pacific Coast Bike Route, starting in Brookings, Ore., and finishing seven days later, on Oct. 10, in Fort Bragg, Calif.
As with his previous long-distance journeys, he knows he’ll spend a portion of his trip riding on the often-narrow shoulders of U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 1 in California.
“The wheelchair community is a user group of our roadways, and I like to be seen out there on the road as one of those users,” he said, noting that increasing his visibility to motorists is a big reason he’ll be riding with cyclists.
“I want to celebrate my passion for the outdoors as much as any cyclist.”
After his first long-distance ride in 2016, Mackay started the nonprofit Ian’s Ride with a mission of creating a more accessible outdoors. In 2018, he completed a 13-day journey from Coeur d’Alene back home to Agnew, riding through the heat of Eastern Washington before crossing the North Cascades.
In late August, he hosted the second-annual Sea to Sound group ride, a three-day multi-modal trip spanning the Olympic Discovery Trail and raising money for the Peninsula Trail Coalition along the way.
To keep up with Mackay’s latest ride, visit his blog at iansride.com, where he plans to post updates each night, or find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for photos and updates throughout the day.