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Double amputee sees no limits

Posted at 11:48 PM, Apr 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-24 23:48:35-04

At first glance, Jim Leatherman looks like any other motorcycle enthusiast enjoying a Sunday drive in Cape Coral.

"I was run over by a train when I was 6 and that's how I lost my legs."

The competitive fire has always burned bright in leatherman, who excelled in para-olympic sports like sled hockey.
Riding a motorcycle was just the next challenge, but it wasn't easy.

"Just stumbled across a bike that was somewhat accessible, got challenged to get on it and try it, and of course they were laughing because I was jerking around with the clutch, but I fell in love with it."

The brakes and accelerator are linked to the handlebar.  His wheelchair stows right behind the backseat, so as not to block his wife's view if she tags along.

Leatherman logged a quarter million miles on his bike, and has visited nearly every state.

He met some interesting people along the way like a fellow biker on I-95, who couldn't believe what he saw.

"And he keeps looking over, because obviously he sees I have no leg on the left side, and next thing I see him, he drifts back, and he gets along the right side of me, and as he's looking over, I hollered over" there's not one on either side, they're just not there."

Leatherman is flattered by the curiosity.  He's had people with disabilities come up to him at gas stations and online seeking advice.

"Tell me how I can get out of my chair on my bike, how do you do it?"

Leatherman says he did it in part by not allowing his disability to hold him hostage.  The rewards for him are giving back by helping other disabled riders and seeing the world from a whole different perspective along the way.

"You can't experience these surroundings here in a car or in a truck."

Jim says he's helped wounded warrior warriors learn how to ride, if you are interested in learning or know a disabled rider who may be, you can contact jim at jkleath@comcast.net.