Iron Man, Andrew Heckman
|In the spring of 2002, Andrew Heckman moved from Chicago to Portland Oregon, where, he used to refer to himself as "A Stranger in a Strange Land". There, he was scheduled to get married to his fiancée, Lisa Brandt, on June 29th.
On June 3rd, Andrew flew back to Chicago to fill a gap in the National Bicycle Greenway Mayors' Ride . The 2002 ride was a 17 city bicycle relay from Washington, DC, to Santa Cruz, CA. It had stalled in Chicago because rider[s] could not be found to do the next leg to Des Moines IA.
Charles Penninger had stepped in and offered a Penninger Voyager recumbent tricycle to anyone who could ride it to Santa Cruz. At about noon, Andrew picked up the bike that had been prepared for the ride by The Bike Rack in St. Charles, IL, just west of Chicago. The trike was well lighted. Andrew is an experienced recumbent rider, and was wearing a helmet.
At about 11 PM on June 3rd, Andrew and the tricycle recumbent were struck from behind by a passing car. He was taken to a Dixon, IL hospital amd later transferred to Rockford Memorial where he underwent significant surgery. He was in critical condition, with extensive injuries; including a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain, broken collar bone and crushed pelvis.
After he was finally taken off the respirator, he was miraculously able to talk and respond and yet his recovery continues even today. After surgery on his pelvis, he astonished everyone by being able to walk again. Andrew used his bright and happy outlook on life to not only appear on stage a year later at the 2003 Santa Cruz NBG Fest but it wasn't but a few years more that he was, albeit slowly and carefully, back on a bike again!
What an amazing mountain of a man!!
|"It's a tragic irony that Andrew had volunteered to promote safe biking and wound up becoming a victim of the very problems he was trying to change."
Chicago Critical Mass
|Andrew was making the ride to support the National Bicycle Greenway, a network of coast-to-coast, multi-use transportation and recreational bicycle roads and trails. The primary purpose of the Greenway is to provide safe, clean, aesthetic, and enjoyable places for people of all ages to ride a bicycle all year round.|
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