Our Team

Fernando Resende
Following a motor vehicle accident in May, 2002, Fernando suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury (C6-7); six years later gave handcycling a try. When he first started out, Fernando was just looking to ride with his daughter Taryn to school. He later rented a handcycle in winter of 2011 and 2012, when out in California. In 2014, after building some experience, Fernando purchased his first handcycle.
Today Fernando’s riding his third handcycle, as well as his adaptive mountain bike. More of a mountain biker prior to his accident, Fernando finds it to be very freeing – venturing off into the forest again, that sense of exploration, is something he didn’t know would be possible again until 2018. As for handcycling, he says the rush never gets old. “It’s great in so many ways – for cardio, for strength, for speed and for the mind”. He loves the social and competitive aspect of the sport, saying it’s a great way to go out and spend time with friends. Most of all he says, “The ability to propel your entire body with your arms at speed or up a hill still blows my mind.”
Fernando’s highlights include racing at the Swamp Classic in Florida (2016), and the mnValley of the Sun in Arizona (2017, 2018). As for adaptive mountain biking, he’s raced at The 24 Hour Summer Solstice three times (2018, 2019, 2022), and made a trip in 2021 to Fernie, British Columbia where he rode on and down the mountain with Rob and Rich.
Tom Proszowski
In 1972, Tom was involved in a motorcycle accident, he damaged his spinal cord at the mid-thoracic level resulting in complete paralysis below T5/6 level. After a brief rehab stay at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, he returned to school. One day, while traveling between classes at the University of Western Ontario he met a man who stopped him to enquire about campus accessibility. As it turned out, he was looking into staging the next Ontario Games for Persons with Physical Disabilities. Tom presumes his input on campus accessibility must have informed the man’s decision to hold the next Games in London – his colourful introduction to available competitions also inspired Tom to sign up for several disciplines. The following couple of years, Tom tried competing in swimming, field events, wheelchair racing, weightlifting and shooting. While trying these sports resulted in great experiences, it became clear to Tom that his talents were focused on weightlifting (bench press) and shooting. Setting provincial records in both my chosen sports, Tom was invited to compete at the National level. Eventually he joined the National Team to compete, first at the Stoke Mandeville Games in England and then Para-Pan Games in Puerto Rico where he won Gold in air pistol shooting and Bronze in Bench Press.
A chance exposure to handcycling in 2001, while on vacation in Whistler, BC , convinced Tom that this was the sport he could see himself participating in for the foreseeable future. Since then, he and his wife Sandra have enjoyed cycling vacations in Hawaii, New Zealand, Costa Rica and a number of US states. Today, he and Sandra continue to share their love of cycling by including their bikes on most vacations and on local rides. In retrospect, Tom looks back fondly on his experience in shooting and weightlifting but can’t help wondering what his younger, more powerful body could have achieved on the Carbonbike. Unfortunately, no such handcycle existed in the ‘70s.
Rich VanderWal
Out on his motorcycle when in June, 1992, Rich slammed into a parked tractor. This resulted in complete T4 paralysis, he was twenty-one years old. Two years later, in 1994 he bought Invacare’s first handcycle design. His entire life leading up to the accident Rich had been an avid cyclist, so getting back on a bike or trike was necessary not only for exercise, but for freedom. Rich has come a long way from this first purchase, upgrading and riding eleven bikes since.
Over the years, Rich has used cycling as a fitness tool for rowing, alpine, skiing, and tennis. He’s also experienced in downhill adaptive mountain biking, having raced alongside Fernando and Rob in 2021’s BC Dunbar Summer Series. Rich has done many road races and time trials, he’s completed the Ride to Conquer Cancer four times, as well as a Half Ironman Triathlon. For Rich, a good day is getting to ride with friends, out on the road or in the forest.
Rich has worked as a recreation therapist at Lyndhurst Centre and privately since 2001. He’s run sport programs and camps as well, introducing new riders to adapted sport.
Robert Buren
In October, 2008 Rob went over the handlebars on his mountain bike and landed on his head, resulting in a T11-12 break, and causing T7 complete paralysis. Six weeks after breaking his back, Rob was handcycling around Lyndhurst Rehab Hospital, with an old handcycle that Rich VanderWal dropped off for him to try. Nine months after his injury, Rob completed the second annual Ride to Conquer Cancer, cycling over 200kms over two days, from Toronto to Niagara Falls.
Within two years of his accident, Rob completed his first triathlon in Wasaga Beach. By 2013, he was the first Canadian with paraplegia to complete a full Ironman triathlon. In 2016, Rob became the first Canadian paraplegic to qualify for, and complete the Ironman World Championship, in Kona, Hawaii. He completed the race in 13 hours and 33 minutes, earning 2nd place.
In addition to handcycling on the road, Rob spends a lot of time on his adaptive mountain bike. In 2010, Rob and Rich used this handcycle as part of a 10-person team to compete in the 24 Hour Summer Solstice Mountain Biking Race. In 2021, Rob organized a cross-country trip with friends, Rich and Fernando, to race in Canada’s first adaptive Downhill Races, the BC Dunbar Summer Series, in British Columbia. They drove across the country for this epic experience of handcycling in the mountains (road and downhill).

In addition to para-sports, such as golf and waterskiing, Rob has also enjoyed getting back into motorsports, tracking his cars and motorcycle at track days, helping Toyota Canada to introduce an adaptive go-kart to their karting for kids program, and driving/riding side x sides, ATVs and Sea Doos.
https://www.rockthechair.com/

Roger Koert
In 2007, Roger was in a motor vehicle accident resulting in T9 complete paralysis. Four years later, in 2011, he first got into handcycling. Now, in addition to that, Roger does adaptive mountain biking and uses a dragonfly wheelchair attachment, which offers increased mobility and speed.
Roger is President of the HCC, and prior to this was Vice President for ten years. He’s organized multiple HCC Speed Training weeks in Waterloo, Ontario and was Cycling Canada’s 2017 NextGen Athlete. He was AODA’s 10th Anniversary Champion and is an accessibility advocate, as well as a volunteer with the Stratford Accessibility Advisory Committee.