By Ariell Allred
Aggie Blue Print
Life is no respecter of persons when it comes to dealing out challenges. Like a game of poker, we are all dealt a set of cards that determine possible outcomes. Luckily, life has a bit more “give” when it comes to deciding what we are to do with our given hand.
Utah State University alumnus, Bradley Hintze, will embark on a 100-mile bike ride on Sept. 15-16, the second consecutive year in which he seeks to accomplish the feat. Hintze is a unique athlete, having been born with cerebral palsy and dystonia, a movement neurological disorder. His disabilities are difficult and require extra help from others; however, he has not let them limit his way of life. Hintze has used his talents and abilities to inspire and give aid to those around him. “The race is not a ride, but a journey,” he said.
Coordinated by United Cerebral Palsy’s Ride Without Limits, the ride raises money through donations that go directly to UCP, which helps people with mental and physical disabilities, whether it be to help them walk, talk or learn. Hintze asks people for donations and gives them the link to his blog to raise money. After raising $2,000 in last year’s ride, Hintze has raised his goal to $3,000 for this coming September. “Anything helps,” he said. “If you cannot spare the cash, spread the word.”
Hintze hasn’t always been a bike rider. His first love belonged to hiking. While living in Logan and attending USU, “biking wasn’t my big thing,” he said. “Mainly, I would hike to the towers (student living facilities on central campus). Hiking was how I would blow off steam.” When he moved to North Carolina to attend Duke University, Hintze had no mountains to climb due to the flat terrain. “To me, hiking means gaining a thousand feet in elevation,” he said. “I couldn’t do that here, so I started to go biking a lot. For my research, I am at my computer all day long. … If I go biking, I don’t get stir-crazy.”
Hintze, who began training in March, has a bike with a computer that measures his heart rate, speed, and calories. That way, he said, he can track his improvement day by day. “It doesn’t take long to get to a pretty country road,” he said. “I enjoy the physicality of it and pushing myself.”
Hintze wasn’t originally planning on attending college. He had, what he thought were, set “limitations.” After having a paradigm shift, Hintze realized that “limitations are perceptions.” Currently pursuing a PhD in biochemistry at Duke University, Hintze said he would like to remain in academia, which would allow him to become a professor and run his own research lab. His other option is to go into the industry. “North Carolina has a lot of medical companies that want PhDs. The money is good but the drawback is that you don’t get to decide what you research,” he said. “Academia allows you to explore whatever you want as long it’s fundable.”
Hintze’s big heart enables him to make an impact on other people’s lives as he sees limited perceptions that can be transformed. “I have a real passion for helping children with disabilities—not only to give them the tangible things that they need, but to also show them that some of the limitations they see in themselves are perceived,” he said. “So if I can go out there and show them myself, and say ‘look what I’ve done,’ I hope that it will help others to go out there and live.”
Hintze isn’t limiting his advice to just those with disabilities though. Towards the end of July, he will travel to Utah to get involved with 3 Summits Ranch, an organization designed to help boys learn the value of serving others and working hard. The ranch consists of 13- to 15-year-old boys that will hear from Hintze about overcoming challenges. The teenagers will then backpack with Hintze after giving his speech about knowing that it is OK to ask for help and be true to oneself. “They’ll get to see that I need a lot of help and I’m going to ask the boys to help me,” he said. “If you need help eating or whatever, it doesn’t make you less of a person.”
To donate and find out more about Hintze’s participation in “Ride Without Limits,” visit his blog at bradleyjh.blogspot.com. Donations go directly to United Cerebral Palsy.