Hit cyclist returns to complete bike ride

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:48 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) -John Wheeler spent all 2019 preparing for the Hotter’n Hell Hundred Ride. Just weeks before the big day he was hit by a semi and flown to the hospital. Now, he is back and more motivated than ever before.

John Wheeler was riding down highway 62 on the morning of August 19 of 2019 when he was struck.

He was flown to OU medical and had to go through surgery for his injuries.

Now after years of recovery and training Wheeler is prepared to accomplish this goal.

“I trained all year in 2019 and that opportunity to do that 100 miles with a group, I trained with about 20 or 30 people, that opportunity was taken from me but this year I’m going to go get it,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler now has permanent nerve damage in his left arm.

Due to his injuries, he is unable to straighten his arm all the way, but he said he doesn’t let this stop him.

“I have this motto that I talk to with the students and the young people that I come across in life, never quit, I have a plaque at home that says don’t give up now,” he said.

Wheeler was unable to ride for about 8 months after the accident. During that time he lived with his sister, Barbara Altic who says this was hard on everyone in the family.

“It wasn’t just the physical part but just the mental part too, it took a big toll on him and us as a family trying to get him through it,” said Altic.

It took time for Wheeler to get to this level again. She said Wheeler started off slowly by riding around the neighborhood until he was ready for bigger rides.

“I’m just really proud of him for pushing through and watching him go through all of the rehab, it was very life changing.” she said.

“I plan on coming across that finish line about 7 hours after the ride starts so about 2 in the afternoon I should be finished with my 100 miles,” said Wheeler.

It will be the longest ride Wheeler has been on since the wreck. To this day, his longest ride has been 72 miles. Wheeler said that at the end of the ride he will go home with a medal and personal satisfaction.