John Miksa of Carlsbad took off on his bike from Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla Friday for an hour-long ride to Scripps rehabilitation center in Encinitas.
It was something Miksa thought he would never be able to do again.
A year ago Miksa was in a cycling accident that paralyzed him from the neck down. He had less than a one percent chance of recovery, according to doctors, because he had significant damage to his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae
Doctors operated but advised Miksa that he may never walk again, much less ride.
Still, Miksa worked with physical therapists to get back on his feet.
"They had to teach me how to roll over in bed, how to transfer to a wheelchair, how to stand up and sit down, how to transfer to a toilet," Miksa explained. "Eventually they taught me how to walk, and ten days after the accident, I did my first assisted walking."
Less than a month after the accident, Miksa walked out of the hospital with just a neck brace.
"It was one of the most rewarding experiences to see him just wiggle his fingers, wiggle his toes and say that he could feel things," said neurosurgeon Scott Leary, M.D. "I knew right then that he had a chance to make a serious recovery.
The celebratory ride took place on Aug. 27 - one year after the devastating accident. It ended with a reception at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas with caregivers and Miksa's family.