BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Riding a motorcycle is all Brian Powers has ever known since he was 12 years old. But then one night, his love for riding bikes came to an abrupt end. Then, he decided to change that when he took up a challenge.
"Just free and in the wind...It's a freedom. I don't know how to explain it unless you ride bikes," said Powers, a lifelong Baton Rougeon.
They say necessity is the mother of all invention. For Powers, it was the need to feel the wind in his face.
"I put 550 miles in a parking lot as practice," said Powers.
It was 1977. Then 17-yr-old Powers was out for a ride on Park Blvd., which is now Dalrymple, when a car pulled out in front of him. Trying to dodge it, Powers hit a telephone pole. Police thought he was dead and shipped him to the morgue.
"When they went to toe-tag me and unzipped the bag, I sat up and asked them why you throwing me away," said Powers.
He was alive but his right arm was severely injured with the nerves ripped far from the spinal cord. He had no feeling in the arm, the same arm he had been using to rev a throttle since he was 12 years old.
"It had become infected, become Gangrene or whatever and they wanted to take off a portion at a time, and I was like, 'No, we're going to take it all off at once'," said Powers.
For the next 37 years, Powers tinkered with his friends' bikes and watched them ride the wind without him because he had lost his right arm. He said watching all his friends ride their bikes to a poker run was the hardest thing, because he had to take his truck. Then last year, one of Powers' friends bought him a bike and challenged him to find a way to ride.
"I had it there for like a month taunting me, and I said, 'I'm going to figure it out'," said Powers.
What he figured out was a way to let his right foot do what his right arm couldn't. Through trial and error, Powers engineered his own electronic foot throttle.
"My right side, I use it for my acceleration and my brake, and the left side, my foot-shifts and down-shifts and everything. I use my left arm to brake and hold the handlebars," said Powers.
After months of practicing in parking lots, powers was ready to test the wind.
"I was excited but I was nervous," said Powers. "Naturally, those thoughts come to mind of whether you going to be able to do this or not, should I lay it down, but I didn't lay it down."
Instead, Powers revved his engine and tasted the wind.
"When you ride out in the country, you notice a lot more around you. You're not paying attention to the radio and looking at stuff in the car. When you're on a bike, you're looking at all the scenery," said Powers.
Powers has already filed for a patent and says he's now waiting for it. Once he gets it, he said he wants to help disabled veterans ride their motorcycles so they too, like him, can ride the wind.