UofC DISABILITY CYCLING COACH GOES ABOVE CALL OF DUTY
The wind in his hair, the asphalt flying under his feet, the freedom and exhilaration of being able to go wherever you please, these are all things Stephen Burke remembers about cycling as a boy in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A feeling he has been giving to people who otherwise wouldn’t even be able to mount a bike on their own, let alone ride it.
Stephen Burke, cycling coach at the University of Calgary, has dedicated 15 years of his life to modifying bikes, teaching disabled athletes how to ride them and coaching them to become champions. And after seeing four athletes go to the Paralympics, Burke says each athlete he’s coach has taught him more than he could ever teach them.
Despite his Paralympic success, Burke says it’s not about the rewards and trophies lining the shelves. It’s those little “cherry moments” that make his hard work worthwhile.
“When I have something to go home and tell my wife, it’s when I get a new cyclist that comes in a little reluctantly, their whole concept of cycling goes from something hey didn’t want to do, to something they positive that they enjoy.”
Photo Credit: Jodi Egan