Saints safety Steve Gleason was surprised this morning with a custom-made, two-seater recumbent bike — and within a few minutes of seeing it in his driveway, he suited up for a ride in Lakeview. Gleason, who battles ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease), will plan to train on the bike to ride in the Ride 2 Recovery Gulf Coast Challenge, a more than 400 mile ride that begins in New Orleans and ends in Florida. The event, presented by United Healthcare, is March 2-9 and is one of several annual "challenge" rides to benefit wounded veterans.
The "Big Easy" bike, designed and donated by Ride 2 Recovery, can be pedaled by one or two people, allowing Gleason to take breaks. It has an independent pedaling system, adjustable seating and straps, and an elevated seat. Before he sped off with Ride 2 Recovery's John Wordin, Gleason said he battles ALS with "perseverance and creativity." Then with a smile: "Let's go."
Gleason's wife Michel and his family kept the bike a secret and said the bike was "the best Christmas present," and the couple's son Rivers cheered him with pom poms borrowed from the Saintsations cheerleaders.