Paraplegic's dream bike ride

A 1,200km trip from Jakarta to Bali on a modified wheelchair motorcycle to inspire hope.

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She made it!

For 10 years, Sri Lestari stayed at home after a motorcycle accident left her paralysed from the chest down at the age of 23.

She felt "unhappy, unproductive and really depressed".

Then she got a motorcycle specially modified to allow her to ride in her wheelchair.

"When I got my modified motorcycle, my life changed," says the 39-year-old who relished the freedom of being able to "go everywhere by myself" again after a decade of being stuck at home.

But she's not content to keep that freedom to herself, and wants "others to see this is possible for them too".

Hitting the road

So she’s taking to the road, riding 1,212km from Indonesian capital Jakarta to popular holiday destination Bali, "to show that people with disabilities in Indonesia can live free, independent, productive and happy lives".

"Disabled people in Indonesia still have difficulty getting out of their houses, because they have no access to transport, especially public transportation," she explains.

"This trip would show people in Indonesia and around the world that having a disability doesn’t mean your life is over."

In fact, using her own story as an inspiration for others is what she does daily.

"I spend my days visiting people with disabilities who just stay at home," says Sri, who in 2009 joined United Cerebral Palsy, Wheels for Humanity as a social worker.

"They are surprised that I can live independently, go everywhere by myself on my modified motorcycle, and work a normal job.

"They are happy when they see me, because I am 'diffable', (differently abled), and I am a woman and I can work. I really want to share my experience — how I can be independent and healthy as a diffabled paraplegic."

On her three-week bike ride, she plans to stop in different towns and cities along the way to speak to disabled folk at rehabilitation centres and parents of disabled children, and then speak at a TEDx event in Bali before flying home to Klaten, Central Java.

She also plans to visit homebound paraplegics on the trip to share her experience with them.

Her message? "They can be just like me: free and independent."

Filmed and edited by Peter Wall
Produced by United Cerebral Palsy Wheels for Humanity
Text by Joshua Lye

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