Bicyclist beats all odds to complete 3800 miles

Wanda English Burnett

A Scotland man took the meaning of “making lemonade out of lemons” to a whole new level as he pushed against all odds to cross the country from San Francisco to New York City in a wheelchair bicycle to raise money to fight childhood cancer.

Kenny Herriot faces challenges of his own every day as he is paralyzed from his waist down. But, he doesn’t let that stop him from helping others.

Herriot took a brief respite in the Versailles State Park on May 29 as he rested from his day of cycling and readied himself to finish the journey he began on April 27. He noted that the park was a peaceful, serene place to rest. Some of his stops for the night have just been parking lots. He was traveling with his cousin, also from Scotland, and a friend from Georgia. They would take turns driving a donated RV and sometimes riding alongside Herriot.

He told The Versailles Republican “About 75% is mental attitude. You have to keep going.” And he does. Despite the rain, cold, mountainous terrain he has crossed, even after being struck by a motorist in Illinois, he pushes on.

Just five days before being in Versailles, Herriot was hit by a driver who wasn’t paying attention. Even though his support vehicle was visible with flashers on, and his special made bicycle was clearly marked and visible, he was still the victim of someone who didn’t have their eyes focused on the road.

That accident has compounded issues for the already challenged bicyclist. Herriot noted, “Some days you just have to find a reason to go on.” The reason he continues his journey is for others, children in particular.

“That’s why I challenge myself, for others,” he noted as he drank a protein shake and was getting some rest after a long day of cycling.

Herriot said he goes about 85 miles or more each day and ended Sunday, June 7 in New York, with him traveling about 3,800 miles.

Described as one of the “world’s leading wheelchair athletes,” Herriot decided to take on the 15-state challenge to bring awareness to the importance of funding childhood cancer research.

Dubbed The Great Lemon Ride, the journey is to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in honor of Alexandra Alex Scott, who lost her battle to cancer at the young age of eight. At the age of four, Alex announced she wanted to have a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since that first stand was erected, thousands of volunteers have kept the dream alive and a national fundraising movement was born. The charity has raised more than $25 million and funded over 80 research projects nationally.

“This is a very worthwhile cause, for which I am honored and privileged to raise awareness for,” said Herriot. “I have been given fantastic opportunities in my own life to travel the world, experience amazing things, and now it is my time to give back. This challenging journey will push me to the max, but I know how important the battle against childhood cancer is. I am doing this for future generations, they deserve these cures.”

Liz Scott, mother of Alex, noted, “My daughter Alex proved that human beings are capable of incredible things, no matter their age or situation. What better way to solidify that fact than through Kenny, who much like Alex, has not let his situation hold him back in life.”

Herriot told The Versailles Republican he has participated in a number of challenges, cycled the length of Great Britain in 17 days, and just wanted to push himself a little further this time. “This is the longest ride I’ve ever done,” he smiled, and said it was the most challenging. He broke the British record for the wheelchair marathon in 2005.

Since he was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2000, Herriot hasn’t spent any time feeling sorry for himself. As a successful fitness instructor he believes his success is greatly attributed to being fit. “It really does make a big difference,” he noted. He said he refuses to let his disability hold him back.

From the Golden Gate Bridge Herriot made his way, slow at times. “One mountain in Colorado was 60 miles up,” he laughed. That took him the better part of one day. States his journey took him through included California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and finally New York.

Herriot said without the people supporting him “behind the scenes” he couldn’t make the journey. His cousin, a police officer in Scotland, a friend from Georgia and the corporate and personal sponsors have made the trip a reality with Herriot putting forth the manpower. He hand cycled every mile of the trip.

For more information about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation you can go online at