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Cyclists on a 3,800-mile journey stop at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind

Posted at 4:11 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 09:57:39-04

GOODING, Idaho — Two cyclists currently on 3,800 mile trip across the country to share their story made a stop in Gooding on Wednesday.

Cyclists Shawn Cheshire and Steve Martin started their trip in Oregon and are now working their way east to their final destination at Virginia Beach.

It's a trip they have been wanting to do for years, and both are thrilled to finally be on the road.

“It’s just been a lot of fun because it’s amazing watching the team move across the country,” said Martin.

What makes this duo so unique is that they both face physical challenges of their own. Shawn served in the U.S. Army as a paramedic and is completely blind. She has represented the U.S. at the paralympics as a tandem cyclist. She's also a world record holder for the fastest rim-to-rim crossing of the Grand Canyon by a blind athlete with a time of 24 hours and 15 minutes.

Steve is also an Army veteran and is a bilateral below-knee amputee after suffering injuries from an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2008. He is also a former Arizona State Trooper.

The pair stopped at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind to speak with students about their journey and share their message of perseverance and keeping a positive attitude when faced with a challenge.

They both face their own issues when traveling on the road. Since Shawn is blind and riding on a solo bike, she has a team working with her to help her navigate and keep clear of any potential obstacles.

Shawn's good friend, Jesse, rides in front of her with a speaker playing music for her to follow. Everyone's helmets are also equipped with a two-way radio that way they can let Shawn know about any hazards.

“Jesse and Chris have to be switched on at all times," said Martin. "They literally never stop talking to Shawn about what's in front of her, what’s next to her, what's beside her. Then we have someone telling us what’s coming from behind to protect the team.”

Cross-country cyclists make stop at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind

Steve faces his own separate challenges, one of which has proven to be the most difficult while making this cross-country trek.

“Trying to keep my legs clean because you’re pedaling for so many hours and just trying to make sure I don’t let my skin deteriorate. I know that sounds odd, but my legs are encased in neoprene carbon fiber 16 hours a day so I have to make sure that I clean them,” said Martin.

During the trip from Oregon to Virginia, Shawn and Steve will be stopping at several other schools to try and inspire kids to get out of their comfort zone.

“It's breaking barriers, what she’s doing, it’s never even been attempted, and I think it’s important to spread that message," said Martin. "Like she said earlier today, it's the next generation. We want someone else to pick up that baton and run with it.”

The pair hopes that students can walk away from the assembly feeling more motivated to try something new.

“Find a challenge," said Martin. "Not something they're comfortable with, something they’re uncomfortable with and taking that and running with and setting a new standard.”

Many of the students in attendance took what Shawn and Steve were saying to heart.

“I think it is really, really cool," said Sophia Maldonado, an eighth-grader. "Even though I’m blind, I want to ride bikes now.”

“I would honestly like to try and ride a bike without training wheels," said Ellie Johnson, a seventh-grader at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind. "I would be more than happy to do something like that.”

To keep tabs on where the duo is heading you can head to their website.