Being knocked off your bike by a truck and seriously injured would turn most people off cycling but not 28-year-old Joel Ward. He’s set to tackle the 75km in his second great Brisbane Bike Ride on May 7 alongside his mum.
The Grafton resident was cycling outside a school in Daisy Hill just south of Brisbane when the accident occurred in 2015.
Joel was given just a 5-10% chance of survival after the accident and doctors warned his mum, Karmen, to expect permanent brain damage.
But Joel remained laser-focused on cycling during his time in hospital and all through his extended treatment.
“His number one goal was to ride again, which horrified his father and I,” Karmen said.
“Eventually he was granted permission to ride by his doctors but under supervision.
“That’s when I had to step up.”
After several months of riding, Joel suggested that his mum upgrade her bike and enter the Great Brisbane Bike Ride together.
Riding in the annual event which attracts over 2000 riders was a major milestone for the pair.
“That was the first time I saw my son’s face light up since the accident.”
Unsurprisingly Joel and Karmen are back again this year, all the way from Grafton. But this year they’re upping the ante and graduating from the 40km route up to the 75km route.
Although Joel is still recovering from his 2015 accident and Karmen has recently retired, neither have any intentions of putting life on the back burner.
“Retirement isn’t a time to slow down. It’s a time to get going, to do the things you never had time for,” Karmen said.
“Keeping fit and healthy was one of them and cycling is a great way to do it.”
Karmen reckons anyone who’s on the fence about joining this year’s Great Brisbane Bike Ride shouldn’t hesitate.
“Just get some time on your bike and just take it steady. Take in the view and enjoy the after party!” Kamen said.
“It’s a day for everyone.”