Nine years ago Reggie Cake of Madera, California had a life that she never dreamed possible. Married to the man of her dreams, she was also the business manager for three luxury auto dealerships. In the spring and summer, almost weekend she wasn’t working, Reggie and her husband would ride their motorcycles to events (which he was covering for Thunderpress magazine).
In the winter they would ski as much as possible and they traveled every chance they could get to exciting places like Alaska and dude ranches in Montana. They seemed to never slow down and didn’t even know what it was like to have a “nice, quiet weekend.” That just was not their style.
Then it all changed in one day. Reggie had a small tumor on her spinal cord below her neck that was filled with fluid. It was causing pain, so she went to what she thought was a qualified Neurosurgeon. He cut in the wrong place and to make a long and painful story short, she was paralyzed on her lower left side from the waist down due to an error by the surgeon.
This tragic event would cause most of us to stop riding altogether. But Reggie is not just an ordinary person. Every once in awhile, you meet someone who shows you what real strength is. Someone with such courage, heart and tenacity to live fully life despite the limitations placed upon them. And this is how Reggie lives her life—one with no limits.
I try each day to stretch my limits and fight beyond the pain. My life has changed and gone in a totally different direction than I had planned, but I am starting to find a new path even though this path is in a chair I am going at it with a full on sprint and hope to find different kind of riches at the end of the race. I believe God doesn’t give us challenges we cannot conquer.
The Awesome Pink Trike Built from Pure Love
Enter Reggie’s beloved husband. A man who always makes her smile, who never lets her down and loves her unconditionally. While Reggie was recovering both physically and mentally from her traumatic event, her husband Clifford got busy, working diligently to modify her 2003 Heritage Softail into a Harley Davidson Trike that could adapt to her needs and still be safe to ride.
He built the wheelchair rack, moved the shifter to the right side and he also made sure to build in extra back and arm supports to keep Reggie comfortable and secure.
Along with many other custom adjustments, he even added a custom motorcycle seat by Danny Gray so she’d have just the right positioning.
And the way fate would have it, this pink trike is what provides her with the freedom that might otherwise have been limited by her disability.
Sometimes I have my pity parties about the life I lost on the day the doctor operated on me, but when I get on the Awesome Pink Trike built out of so much love, and the wind is on my face, I know that I am thankful to be alive and be riding with my husband and so many friends. I am not in my wheelchair when I ride, I am not crippled when I ride, and I am free of all handicaps. When people hang out their car windows with cameras to take pictures and give me the thumbs up, I hope they recognize that I stand for never giving up on life no matter what challenges you have to face. Life in a wheelchair is not always easy, but it is not the end either. People look at you too often with sympathy. I always appreciate it when people offer to help me, but try to let them know that I would prefer to at least try to do things myself. I want so much for people to see my strength and not my disability.
A Whole Lotta Bling
In addition to the daily pain from her injury, Reggie has had a lot of extra time on her hands. To keep her mind off the pain, Reggie keeps herself busy and one of these ways is with bling…one of Reggie’s favorite things.
I found that “blinging” helps to keep me busy and is fun to do. When I am riding I am constantly looking at my bike for more “Real Estate” (space to bling). I don’t want to get carried away and have too much on my bike, but how do we decide what is too much?
I remember one road trip I saw a beautiful bike in Morro Bay that had more bling on then I had on my bike. I had to go home and go to work immediately. I just couldn’t have someone out bling me! I have slowed down now, I feel comfortable with what I have on it. But that is only for this week. We will see what happens.
Reggie’s Inner Bling
Along with her beautiful blonde hair, her awesome pink trike, and all the bling gleaming like sparkling diamonds loaded on her helmet and bike, Reggie Cake is the vibrant woman in the middle of things…chatting up new riders at biker events, sharing stories, and offering advice that only comes from a true passion for life and motorcycling.
I have found so much strength in the past few years from other people who face life’s challenges
Reggie is continually finding ways to help others. She has just recently been accepted to be a board member of Central California Adaptive Sports Center (CCASC). It is a nonprofit formed to help bring outdoor adventure programs to persons with disabilities. CCASC provides year-round adaptive recreation and adventure programming. Their programs include mountain biking, camping, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, fly-fishing and even horseback riding.
Partnering with China Peak Mountain Resort, CCASC offers opportunities with disabilities to participate in winter snow sports, including snow skiing (alpine and nordic), snowshoeing, ski biking, and mountaineering.
CCASC has become Reggie’s newest journey to work with and she is humbled by all the amazing participants who continue to fight their challenges.
Reggie is also CFO with the nonprofit A Spoonful of Sugar to help others empower themselves through life’s challenges.
After meeting Reggie Cake and learning of her amazing adventures, you realize that the serious bling around her comes from within. Paralysis or not, her strength and positive attitude shine bright and strong wherever the road -and the ride-may take her.
When life gives you lemons I have found that we not only can make lemonade but we can share lemonade with the world with the help of God and choosing the right people to stand strong beside you. My advice to people with and without disabilities is to find your passion and never set limits on yourself and your abilities.
Do you have a bling’d out bike? Are you fashionably styling while you ride? Then check out How to get featured as a Biker Girl Bling’n It.