Sports: Deaf-Blind Cycling Trio does the Pacific West

  1 August 2007
  Contact: Samuel Hawk (
  Hawk Relay
  Biking is impossible without ears to listen for traffic signals and eyes to see where one is going, right?  Wrong.  A trio of deaf-blind cyclists will be making one of cycling’s toughest treks-the California coast-hugging Santa Cruz-to-Los Angeles route-from August 4 to 10, 2007.  They are out to prove that anyone can cycle, even if you are both deaf and blind.
  John Lee Clark, 28; Jelica Nuccio, 42; and Molly Wezel-Peterson, 27, are all planning to join the California Deaf Wheelers on their annual 424-mile race down the Pacific coast.  They will journey from just south of San Francisco to the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles.  To the uninitiated, Clark explains, “Two of the three of us will make the trip on tandem bicycles.  More than endurance and stamina, tandem cycling is about teamwork.  This requires communication.”  Clark, a native of Minnesota and an award-winning publisher, poet, and writer, says that he and his tandem partner communicate a nuanced code through their pedals and an assortment of tactile signals.
  The executive director of DeafBlind Service Center in Seattle, Washington, Nuccio will be tandem cycling with her deaf sighted husband.  She asserts, “I am sure that we are the first three deaf-blind cyclists to ever take on this route, which includes ascents on bluffs overlooking the Pacific and descents to the beach.” 
  “We have been training for several weeks now,” chimes in Wezel-Peterson, a Business Administration major at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., who will be riding on a solitary bike.  “We are ready to show the world what we can do.” 
  Mark Gasaway, a board member of the American Association of the Deaf-Blind and an ardent supporter of this effort, adds, “The route will not be an easy one, but that is the point.  The trio will show the world that deaf-blind people can do anything except hear or see.” 
  Samuel Hawk, the president of Hawk Relay, has confidence in the trio, so much so that Hawk Relay is sponsoring their endeavor.  “We have before the Federal Communications Commission a petition for DeafBlind Relay Service, which will provide telecommunications access to deaf-blind people on a par with other relay services.  What better vehicle to promote this service than a first-time journey by deaf-blind cyclists through some of the most beautiful, and challenging, terrain in the world?”  He continues, “I have had the pleasure of working with John, Jelica, and Molly in the past and know that they will represent the deaf-blind community well.”
  They will be joining the California Deaf Wheelers, a group of deaf cyclists established in 1996 that makes regular bike rides around the San Francisco Bay Area as well as around the State of California, including the upcoming annual California Coast trip.  The 2007 version of this trip will also be sponsored by Hawk Relay, which was established in 2006 and provides Video Relay Service and Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service.  Hawk Relay’s mission is to provide deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing people with the necessary tools to achieve full and equal telecommunications access.
  “Because of California’s dazzling treasury of wildlife on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other side, it will be a scenic ride for the others,” Clark smiles.  “For us deaf-blind cyclists, it will be exhilarating to inhale all of the scents and to feel the morning fogs turning into afternoon mineral winds.  There is no question we will be enjoying this trip as much as everyone else, if not more.”

Hat Tip to E. Campbell.

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32 Responses to Sports: Deaf-Blind Cycling Trio does the Pacific West

  1. LaRonda says:

    This is wonderful news! An empowering journey, to be sure! I will be en route in the same area for our family vacation. perhaps we will spot the tandem bicyclers. Thanks for sharing.

    ~ LaRonda

  2. Lantana says:

    Hey you guys, how come you are going South and not North? Come to Seaside, Oregon next time, we will do lunch!


  3. Sue Lee says:

    This is very impressive! I would be interested in how the trip goes. What fun – good luck and enjoy!

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