Hector Picard, 46, has no arms.
In June, he will ride a bike from Miami to Washington state to raise money for Jameson Davis, a 1-year-old boy born without forearms.
But he may not ride his $12,000, custom-made bicycle. Someone stole it Thursday morning from his car, which was parked in front of his Fort Lauderdale home.
Instead, Picard will have to ride his backup bike.
“The other bike is like a Mercedes, this bike is like Hyundai,” Picard said. “I’m going to struggle with this bike, but I will do it however I have to do it.”
The thief, or thieves, broke into his Honda Element, affixed with photos of Picard and Jameson, between 2 and 6 a.m. Thursday
“There’s advertising with the little boy on the bike, but they really didn’t care. They took it,” Picard said. “By the way the bike is set up, they’re going to see that they can’t do anything with it.”
He has owned the Seven Axiom road bike since 2011, when the I Will Foundation, one of his sponsors, donated it to him.
The bike is customized so Picard can brake with his right knee, change gears with his left foot and ride leaning his left elbow inside a cup-holder-like device hooked to the handlebar. He usually uses a prosthetic on his left arm, but competes without it.
Picard vowed he will make the journey. On Friday morning, he rode 85 miles on his backup bike around Broward County to promote his ride, “Hands for Baby Jameson Cycle USA.”
Picard, 46, lost his arms 21 years ago when he received 1,300 volts of electricity in his body twice, working as an electrician.
When he woke up from his 30-day coma, he had second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of his body. He had lost his right arm and half of his left one.
His 1-year-old daughter and his wife at the time were his main motivation to get well fast.
“Not only I wanted to be the man I was before, but I wanted to be more than that,” he said.
He started running triathlons in 2009, after his divorce. He has since remarried to Wendy Picard.
He has run 73 triathlons and was the first double-amputee man to complete in a full Ironman race, the longest of all triathlons. Last year, he rode his bike from Fort Lauderdale to New York to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his accident and to raise awareness of the I Will Foundation.
“When I started competing in the triathlons, people were telling me I was an inspiration and I motivated them,” he said. “So I decided to do something.”
He started an organization called Don’t Stop Living. He visits schools, universities, churches and corporate events, giving motivational speeches.
He planned the ride for Jameson, a baby born with no forearms in Spokane, Wash. He heard about Jameson’s story through a friend who ran triathlons with him and contacted his parents, Brooke Davis, 34, and Jimmy Davis, 33.
Picard will ride 3,200 miles in 36 days, stopping every day to make speeches and raise money. His goal is to raise $32,000 to help the Davises with the expenses of Jameson’s first electronic prosthetic arm, which he could wear when he is 18 months old.
“We were kind of blown away by it,” said Jimmy Davis. “I couldn’t believe that a total stranger would do that for us.”
Jameson is the couple’s first baby. Brooke Davis had two miscarriages because of a blood-clotting disorder. They learned Jameson would be born without arms at 20 weeks into the pregnancy. The doctors didn’t know what caused his condition.
Jameson was born April 12, 2012. The Davises hope Picard will be an inspiration for their son.
“Just seeing from YouTube videos how he puts on his helmet and does all kinds of stuff using his prosthetic is amazing,” Brooke Davis said. “It kind of gives us a look into the future. We know the challenges that Jameson will have, but he will be able to overcome, and he will have an inspiration like Hector. I can’t believe his bike got stolen. Whoever stole it has no idea how horrible they are.”
Picard hopes the police will find at least the frame of his bike. Regardless, he said he will ride to Washington state even if he had to do it on a Huffy.
“I love the fact that I can do this for this little boy,” Picard said. “He’s going to grow up knowing that anything is possible.”