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Staff photo by Robert Hong
Filmmaker Dominic Gill (back) and Ryon Mabey, who is disabled, ride through the Barstow on Wednesday. Gill will be traveling along Route 66 and across the country with different disabled people for a new documentary he is making.

Documentary about disabled bikers filming through Barstow

BARSTOW • On a white tandem bike, under the blazing hot sun, two men and a camera cruised down Route 66 on Thursday, heading toward Las Vegas.

Dominic Gill, 30, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and his passenger Ryon Mabey, left Los Angeles on Monday and spent Thursday in Barstow. Gill plans to pick up several more passengers as he films his bicycle journey to New York.

In 2006, Gill completed a trip from Alaska to Argentina picking up strangers — but this new trip is different, as all his passengers will be disabled.

“I want people to see that anything is possible,” Gill said.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Gill makes a living off of adventure. On his Argentina trip, he picked up 270 people along the way and filmed their journey.

He documented the lives of his many passengers in a film and book titled “Take a Seat,” which took home the Jury Prize at a recent Bamff Mountain Film Festival.

One passenger he met on the trip was a 74-year-old leukemia patient named Ernest Greenwald.

Inspired by the trip, Greenwald and Gill planned to take a journey together across the nation this year. They were set to leave on June 19, when a problem arose.

Greenwald went to get a medical screening to assure he was healthy enough for the trip, but found out on June 17 that he also had prostate cancer.

Though the early diagnosis may have saved his life, it put the trip on hold.

“All of our planning fell on its head,” Gill said

With all his plans scrapped, and a wide open calendar for the summer, Gill had one final idea.

“We decided to still do the trip and open it up to people who normally wouldn’t be able to travel,” he said.

His plan was to recruit disabled people from around the country to ride with him. In a matter of days, he took to Facebook and other social networking sites and contacted support groups for disabled people in hopes of putting together a team.

Mabey, 32, was his first passenger.

After a car accident left him with brain damage and double vision, coupled with a bad sense of balance, Mabey was more than happy to sign on for the first leg of the trip.

“I think it’s amazing I can have the opportunity to do something like this, since I have all sorts of limitations,” Mabey said. “You only get so many opportunities in life, and people live ten lifetimes and don’t get the chance to do this.”

While the two were riding near Second Street, Barstow resident Cathy Blevins took notice and pulled over to ask about the bike.

She said it was inspiring that the two men could work together to maneuver the bike, since one was handicapped.

“I think its just awesome,” she said. “Not everybody has equal ability.”

Mabey will get off in Vegas, and Gill will continue to pick up new people as he goes around the country. He will be documenting his travels on www.domandernie.com .

CONTACT THE WRITER

(760) 256-4122 or
rhong@desertdispatch.com


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