Wheelchair Rider Embarks on Cross-State Trip

Aug 13, 2018

Ian Mackay from Port Angeles is riding across Washington the next two weeks to advocate for a "more accessible outdoors" for people with disabilities.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Port Angeles, Washington man who is advocating for more and safer open-road options for disabled travelers has begun a cross-state journey.

Ian Mackay began his trip in his motorized wheelchair in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on Sunday. He traveled the Centennial Trail to Spokane and then left for Davenport this morning [Monday].

Ten years ago Mackay was a university student in Santa Cruz, California. He was riding his bike home at a rapid clip when his tires hit a patch of sand. The bike went sliding and he collided with a tree. He broke his neck. Now he’s paralyzed from the waist down, but still an adventurer.

“This is what I love. This is what I do. Long wheelchair rides are my passion, my interest. I did 4,700 miles last year on trails. Any chance I get to get out here is a blessing and wonderful for me,” Mackay said.

Now he’s at the start of a 13-day, almost 500-mile journey from Coeur d’Alene to Port Angeles. The first 30 or so miles were done relatively safely on the Centennial Trail. But now it’s on to Highway 2 to Davenport and Grand Coulee, then eventually up to Highway 20 along the northern tier of the state.

“Right now, the only way I can do this is along the road," Mackay said. "Luckily, Highway 20 is also U.S. Bike Route 10 and so it is a designated bike section and I’m looking forward to getting onto that.”

One of Mackay’s main goals for this trip is to advocate for what he calls a “more accessible outdoors”, more routes for bicyclists and wheelchair riders to enjoy the open road.

For this journey, he’ll be accompanied by several bicyclists and by a van with friends and supplies. You can follow his progress at iansride.com.