June 30, 2018

Ep. 03 Going for Gold with Ryan Pinney

FILED IN: Podcast

Today we are talking to Ryan Pinney, a competitive hand cyclist and husband to one of our owners Meagan Pinney!  Ryan and Meagan have been married since 2012 and clearly show how having a positive attitude and just rolling with it can make your life so enjoyable. Ryan has always loved being on a bike.  Whether it was BMX, mountain biking, road cycling, you name it, Ryan was involved in it.  When Ryan got in a BMX racing accident in the summer of 2012, he did not let becoming paralyzed from the waist down stop his passion.  He quickly started handcycling and now holds a gold medal for the Inaugural handcycle relay team at the U.S. Paracycling Road National Championship 2018 and the bronze medal in the road race as well as the holding Gold Medal for handcycling in the Invictus Games.

In this episode, you’ll find that no matter what circumstances are thrown at you in life, you can still do the things that you love. He says that being able to live life without barriers has created an enjoyable, happy life.


Everyone dreams about being in the Olympics one day, but Ryan never realistically put it on his radar let alone did he know what hand cycling was.  When he came back from his deployment, Ryan was in a BMX accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He handled his new circumstances with the utmost positivity telling his EMT Christine everything is going to be okay, “You praise God when you win, you praise God when you lose.”

No one thinks of living life in different circumstances like being in a chair, but when things happen you just do. “When tragedy happens or when something happens to us, we have to find an outlet.” Finding a new passion in hand cycling is what has helped him get through his own tragedy. When the Freewill Foundation found out that Ryan had a major passion for bike riding before his accident they wanted him to explore options with his injury.  They gifted him with his first handcycle and asked him to ride as a team with them in a 430-mile race the following year. It gave him a goal, it gave him a mission, and it turned into freedom.


Since his 430-mile race in 2013, Ryan has worked hard and competitively as a handcyclist, sweeping national championship which finally brought him to race for team USA in July 2018. We need to take a step back and realize Ryan is turning 38 in November.  Handcycling is not a sport that he got right into as a kid and has been perfecting for ages. This is something that he started without knowing much about it and has turned it into such a major passion that he can win National Titles.

“My goal is to win more national championships, but also winning a world championship.” 

This is his job; he is committed to racing and his goals. Ryan is going to the World Cup race in the Netherlands leaving July 1st, 2018 as part of the 12 person USA team. His goal by August 2018 is to be selected to go to the World Championship as a part of team USA, to win the National Championship 2019, and to eventually go to the Tokyo Paralyimc Games in 2020 and winning “The Medal.”

Over the course of five years, Ryan has gone from being introduced to his first handcycle to thinking about a gold medal.  It is so important to note how he works everyday with this goal in mind. He knows it’s the individual moments that will bring him there.  While Meagan may be having pregnancy cravings, he can look at food and ask himself, will this get me to my goal?


The word selfish seems to always have a negative connotation to it.  You need to be selfish. You need to know what fills you up and makes your life worth celebrating.  Ryan realizes that being selfish in his life is what makes him enjoy each day. He approaches handcycling and life without restrictions and won’t let his chair limit him.  “I can use my circumstance for an excuse for every aspect in life, but the one person missing out is me.”

You can be selfish and give love to others.  While following his passion and his true love for life, he is now able to say he is going to be a dad.  Baby Addison is coming. Ryan beams with excitement talk about all the first moments he will be experiencing soon.  He is excited to be there for her and be a part of her interests and he can’t wait for his girl to come so he can be a parent and watch Meagan become a mom for the first time.

“Ultimately, with the right people around you, and with a strong mindset then, you just do, survival mode takes over, and perseverance takes over, and overcoming takes over, and you just do.”

This story is still making us smile!  It is so refreshing and humbling to hear Ryan and Meagan’s story.  They set such a great example to radiate positivity and we hope that this story will provide you with the inspiration to do just that!

Follow Ryan

Instagram: @az_handbike_ry

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