Rider Spotlight: Jerry Goldsmith

Freedom Chair riders aren't just our customers - they're part of the GRIT family. Today's Rider Spotlight features Jerry Goldsmith. Read on to learn about his adventures!

"Playing in the park with my grandson [is] just the best ... [he's] just shy of 3 years old. If it were not for this chair, I could not have taken the trip through the Garden with my family. Feeling very blessed and grateful."

About Jerry

At 68-years-old, Jerry decided to start doing triathlons.

"I noticed I had put on a few pounds and noticed the fittest guys at the gym were in the tri-club. They adopted me as their club grandfather. LOVED IT! I had a grin on my face from the minute I hit the water to when I was done. Joyous, joyous feeling of accomplishment."

When he was 70-years-old, during a training ride, Jerry was involved in a severe accident. 

"Me and my bike did a complete 360 somersault in the air."

Unfortunately, though he was quite uncomfortable, the severity of his injuries weren't discovered until 6 weeks after his accident.

"I broke my right shoulder, right clavicle, and all the ribs on the right side . . . realized some back issues; that’s when some REAL pain set in and I was losing my legs . . . I became a couch potato and put on 40 pounds, and was in a lot of pain. My legs were gone. I could walk 10 yards or 20 yards and then they would give out. I went back to the doctor. He said my entire internal passage had closed up: stenosis. The worked on L1-L4. The pain went away, and I started doing a LOT of swimming."

Why did Jerry decide on the GRIT Freedom Chair?

Jerry had an ultralight wheelchair with a Freewheel Attachement, and was staying active but would have trouble on certain terrain.

"I couldn’t find hill climbers to fit, and holding wheels when climbing hills was a challenge. I started doing more research, and I didn’t want a racing chair because that’s a lifestyle commitment (different vehicle, storage unit, etc). I was missing being off road, but out of all the activities, the thing that I missed the most, being off on my own for an hour and a half on the bike path. For four years everyday I couldn’t go out a little part of me died."

Jerry tried out the Freedom Chair when he was visiting Boston. He was discouraged by the fact that gravity likes to pull wheelchairs downhill on the camber that most paved surfaces have. However, when he tried out the foot peg accessory GRIT offers, he was sold.

"I was shown the foot pegs and then there was no question. That did it. I got home, got the chair."

What activities does Jerry enjoy doing in the GRIT Freedom Chair?

Besides doing his many training rides, Jerry enjoys participating in various races in his community. He recently completed the Winter Park Road Race 10K in 1 hour and 20 minutes. A couple months before that he completed a 5K race.

"Florida Hospital Winter Park 5K. 1st place in chair division. 4th place for men 75 -79. Time 41:18. Almost 2 minutes faster than my training times."

Jerry also likes to see how fast the Freedom Chair can go and seems to constantly be trying to top his land speed records.

What is Jerry's favorite thing about the GRIT Freedom Chair?

The Freedom Chair allows Jerry to spend quality time with his grandson.

"[He's] just shy of 3 years old. If it were not for this chair, I could not have taken the trip through the Garden with my family. Feeling very blessed and grateful."

Jerry also enjoys accessorizing and customizing his GRIT Freedom Chair. He's always making new changes and upgrades. Check out some of his personal modifications and accessories below.