Jacob’s Ride Hits A Grand Slam For Hearing
Jacob Landis rode 10,666 miles and had hit almost every stadium in the country by the time he reached Polk County, Florida last September. With 180 miles left to reach the last one, Marlins Park in Miami, he was struck by a semi truck that kept on driving. The accident took him off the road, bringing his tour to a grinding halt. But it didn’t end his mission. This weekend, he’ll finish Jacob’s Ride, his cross-country tour to help others overcome hearing loss in the same way he has.
“Without the [cochlear] implant I couldn’t talk to you,” he tells me. Landis was 10 when he heard his brother’s voice for the first time, or anyone’s for that matter. He had just received one of the first cochlear implants. A decade later, Landis would have another life-changing experience when he visited his brother in Los Angeles.
“Noah didn’t have a car then and he gave me his road bike,” says Landis, who rode bikes as a child but, like many people, left them behind with the playthings of childhood. “He took me on one of those group rides – Taco Tuesday – I just had so much fun riding a road bike for the first time that when I got back to Annapolis even though it was so cold I went out and got my own single speed. Then I got a $500 Jamis and I started putting a lot more miles on.”
After fifteen years with his cochlear, Landis is making the same come true for others, and he’s doing it with his bike. Last year, he raised more than $160,000 to help others who cannot afford the implant. Supporting established nonprofit organizations such as the Gift of Hearing Foundation and the Hearing Loss Association of America, the donations have helped fund implants, which can cost from $50,000 to $100,000, for five people. The first went to a 24 year-old male, same age as Landis (at the time of the procedure).
By working with Major League Baseball teams, Jacob’s Ride has been able to raise awareness and support for cochlear implants at each stadium. 500,000 Americans suffer from severe hearing loss, but only 7 percent have benefited from cochlear implants. Unlike a conventional hearing aid, which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant sends electrical impulses to the the auditory nerve, bypassing damaged parts of the inner hear. Contribute to Jacob’s Ride and learn more about cochlear implants at www.JacobsRide.com.
About Krista Carlson
A regular contributor to the print edition of Urban Velo, Krista Carlson is a cyclist obsessed with bike polo, baking, pickles, and all things bike-y. She is a native Angeleno and is madly in love with the city and everything that makes it the beautiful, crazy place that it is.