cassie s. mitchell, ph.d.


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My Paracycling Story


I began paracycling in 2010 initially to improve my health and fitness.  The intensive cardiovascular exercise of cycling lead me to shed well over 30 pounds! I find cycling to be very freeing as it is one of the few disability-friendly sports that can be performed with able-bodied friends and family. 


bike_awardsBefore I could even begin paracycling, I had to engineer a bike that I could ride as the traditional handcycles on the market were not built for quadriplegics with my level of impairments. My cranks are shorter to accommodate my tricep and shoulder impairments, which earned me the nickname “T-rex” after the green and short-armed Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur. With countless hours of prototyping and “tweeking”, I now have a very custom, neon green ride!


My paracycling career had a whirlwind start.  I won my first National Championship in 2010, just six weeks after getting my first bike.  By summer 2011, I had made the USA Paracycling Team.  A few short months later, I won two Union Cycliste International (UCI) Paracycling World Championships, one in the Womens H1 road race (30 miles) and another in the Womens H1 time trial (10 miles). Most are familiar with the "yellow jersey" awarded to the Tour de France cyling champion. The "rainbow jersey" (pictured) is worn by UCI World Champions.


I have been blessed with the honor of becoming the first quadriplegic female paracycling National Champion and World Champion.  To date, there has never been a quadriplegic female Paralympic cycling medalist.  My goal is to change that in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 


My hope is that my engineered bike adaptations as well as my successes encourage other quadriplegic females to get into the sport.  Paracycling has increased my physical and mental tenacity as well as given me great joy in every single ride, whether in a race, training, or simply for recreation.  Ride on….