Amputee completes 168-mile bike race on self-made prosthetic leg

Published: Sep. 1, 2019 at 6:09 PM CDT
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A Gainesville man completed a 168-mile bike race last weekend, and he used a prosthetic leg that he built himself to do it.

"I didn't believe I could ever ride a bicycle again, after I lost my leg seven years ago, the doctors and the prosthetists I was working with all said 'you'll never ride a bicycle again just give it up'," cyclist Aaron Smith said.

But Aaron Smith didn't give up.

He lost his leg in 2012 in a horseback riding accident, but now he's riding bikes.

Smith said he's defied the odds that doctors originally gave him.

"It was less than 2 years ago that I started riding a bicycle, that I learned that I could do it as an amputee and so I started riding and it felt as great as it did when I was a little kid," Smith said.

Smith completed a 168-mile bike race last Saturday.

He said 11,500 people started the race, and less than 100 actually finished the full 168 miles.

And he did it all on a prosthetic leg that he made himself, using gate hinges.

"Both races on this leg and these bearings cost $1.50 each, $3 total and they've made it about 2,000 miles so far with no problems at all," Smith said.

The most recent race is called the Hotter'N Hell bike race in Wichita Falls.

He opted to do the Chupacabra 200, which started with a 101-mile bike race at 7 a.m. followed by another 67.1 miles at 7 p.m.

He said he had his doubts about it at first, but he didn't let that stop him.

"I know my limitations missing a leg, I had to really just try it to find out," Smith said. "I didn't know if it was possible and so I had to try and find out whether or not it was possible."

He donated his ride to the Challenged Athlete's Foundation to give back to the organization that helped him become active again.