Legally blind cyclist Adam C. surprised with reserved bike spot

TQL top broker regularly bikes 40 miles to and from headquarters

Adam C. hits the road by 6 a.m. most mornings, pedaling his Trek 920 the long way to safely navigate the 20 miles between his home and Total Quality Logistics headquarters.

Impatient drivers honk and yell, the elements are perpetual hazards and flat tires require quick work. Adam, a TQL top broker, doesn’t mind. He’s not the sort of person who avoids challenges.

“I think that’s part of being disabled. If you stop every time you hit an obstacle or make excuses, you’re never going to get anywhere,” Adam said.

Adam is legally blind. His vision is 20/200, meaning a perfectly sighted person with 20/20 vision would have to step back 200 feet to see what he sees. He cannot legally drive. Biking isn’t seamless, either, but he said it’s easier to see when he’s only going 20 to 30 miles per hour.

Glasses help, but don’t solve, a condition Adam was born with. He’s nearsighted, farsighted and color deficient. His optic nerve never fully developed.

“If we’re going down the road and a car is 10 feet away, it would be like 100 feet away to me. I can still see. Just imagine you’re 10 times further away. That’s kind of what it’s like,” said Adam, 38.

Barring bad weather, Adam generally cycles to and from work five days a week. The 40-mile round-trip journey takes about three hours.  

TQL’s top brokers earn designated parking spots close to headquarters but Adam, an Enterprise Senior Logistics Account Executive and non-driver, doesn’t use his. He allows others on his team to park in the space and has joked for years that the company ought to outfit his spot with a bike rack.

Enterprise Account Specialist Peter G. had another plan. How about a dedicated pole on the company bike rack? The recent Memphis transplant came up with the idea after riding his own bike a mile into work. He accidentally parked where Adam normally did.

“Adam came in and joked, ‘Hey, you took my spot!’ I was like, ‘They need to give you your own spot,’” Peter said.

Peter was so serious about the notion that he volunteered to purchase stickers to mark Adam’s space. He didn’t have to, as TQL delivered a permanent reserved spot during a surprise reveal May 24.

In a covered alcove by a door facing I-275, Adam found his name in white font on the black apparatus. A circular notice on the concrete also preserved the space.

“It was pretty cool,” Adam said.

Said Peter: “It was long overdue. When you think about it, it’s such a cool thing to have that top broker spot and to work so hard. He always has been so (generous) with the parking spot, making sure someone on the team is taken care of. Now he’s got a spot of his own on the bike rack.”

Cycling has become quite the passion for Adam, who only started the endeavor to accommodate his fluctuating work schedule and diminish the need for rides to the office. He streamlined his physique along the way, shedding 100 pounds from a frame that once crested near 300.

“I was like, ‘I’ve got to figure out how to ride a bike to work. I’ve got to lose some weight.’ As soon I got into a little better shape, I started riding,” Adam said. “I’d do it a couple nights a week and then I started biking all the time.”

His dream is to compete in the 2024 Summer Paralympics in Paris. Visually impaired athletes can compete in tandem cycling events with sighted partners steering the bikes. Adam found a sighted partner on a cycling forum and has been training in road para cycling ever since.

The duo’s next goal is to qualify for the United States travel team. They have the opportunity to do just that at the USA Cycling Para Cycling Road National Championships in Chattanooga in July.

Adam wasn’t riding a bike at all when he started at TQL in 2015. His transformation, and the potential that lies ahead, have exceeded his wildest dreams.

“I was 300 pounds only a few years ago,” Adam said.

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