Shifting Into High Gear charts the course of Kyle Bryant's transformation as he journeys on a recumbent tricycle across the United States in the throes of Friedreich's ataxia, a life-shortening and disabling disease. Full of humor and reflection, it's a heroic journey of a man driven to reframe the language of disease through action and service.
As you travel with Kyle during two cross-country bike rides through the American West, Texas, the Southern States, and finally to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the grueling rides become a compelling backdrop for a series of lessons and ruminations which embrace an alternative worldview and provide practical solutions to everyday problems. A thrilling adventure story, yes, Shifting Into High Gear is also ultimately about helping readers reinterpret the conditions of their lives and learning how positive thinking, purposeful connection, and deliberate actions can help anyone reach beyond their limits and live a bolder and bigger life no matter what the circumstance.
Deeply passionate and compassionate, Kyle uses his amazing story to teach readers how to replace the handicapping language of "disability" with the agency to build a thriving and hopeful life. He bravely exposes the shadow-side of using disabling language and asks us to commit to a collective goal of understanding disease and its emotional impact and embrace the disabled population as equal individuals. In telling his story, Kyle's desire is that instead of viewing disease as a deficit, we would see it as another state of being—simply as a life which strikes out on a different path.
About the Author
Diagnosed with a debilitating disease called Friedreich's ataxia (FA) at age seventeen, Kyle Bryant set off across the country to raise awareness. Today, he is the founder and director of rideATAXIA—a fundraising program of the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) which welcomes thousands of participants who raise 1 million dollars for research every year. As the public face of FA and spokesperson for FARA, Kyle is in the vanguard of individuals who lend their passionate voices to the rare disease community. As he struggles to manage his own declining health and keep the FA research torch burning for a cure, his one-to-one grassroots efforts provide hope for recently diagnosed patients and those well into their journey, inspiring and coaching them toward the finish line. Kyle lives outside of Philadelphia, which is the base of operations for FARA, where he rides his beloved recumbent trike throughout the year.
"Striving to be our best possible self while living with medical challenges is something I know a lot about, and when I see that drive reflected in others, like Kyle Bryant, I can't help but cheer them on. Shifting Into High Gear chronicles a true American hero who teaches us that even when the stakes are high or bad days are upon us, those of us given this mixed blessing of pain and purpose simply have no other choice but to keep moving forward. I consider this book a gift for those of us who empathize from our own health challenges as well as anyone interested in making the most of every moment of their lives. Ride on, Kyle!" —Montel Williams