The Future is Here

When we started paracycling in the Coachella Valley through the Tour De Palm Springs in 2010, four amputees joined in to ride the 5-mile ride. Within two years we had enough handcycles to offer monthly clinics in the Palm Desert Civic Center Park. Today these riders are spending 2-3 hours on the road covering 20-25 miles. And the Tour? There are more than 200 riders with disabilities registering to walk or ride each year.



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Damian Sanchez, Handcyclist 2017 and 2018

We have watched our riders grow in numbers and their performance advance. We have seen their health improve and their engagement in the community grow.
Engaging other organizations in the Tour and the Ability Festival has resulted in a growing number of adaptive sports and recreation programs for people with developmental disabilities across the Coachella Valley. Participating alongside other Paralympian level programs has brought a wide array of opportunities to our youth.

We are now entering a new phase where these athletes will be entering high school and hope that during the coming year we will see the advent of competitive adaptive sports on our campuses. We plan, as well, to launch a scholarship program so that any youth with a physical disability will have access to adaptive sports equipment.

We often say “It is not what we do but what happens because of what we do.” To those who have found new careers, or went back to college, learned to drive or pursue a passion, we commend you. The independence and mobility you found in cycling is evident in how you now live your lives.

Keep coming back – and bring a friend.

DisAbility Sports Festival Coachella Valley 2018

The 6th Annual DisAbility Sports Festival Coachella Valley was a huge success with the addition of new sports, new coaches and new exhibitors.  The highlight of the day was the presentation of a Certificate of Recognition from Assemblymen Eduardo Garcia’s office.  This recognition is greatly appreciated and the support of our community members who not only live, but thrive, in spite of having a disability.  We thank you all and look forward to seeing you at the next festival.



DESERT ABILITY CENTER received it’s 501(c)(3) designation in February 2017 and hit the ground running with a number of events and programs.


THE DESERT AMP CREW is a program of events and services for people with amputations.  We are very excited about having not one, not two, but three Amputee Certified Peer Visitors – Louanne and Ed Granados and Tom Horne.  Monthly meetings are held at the Palm Springs Air Museum where Tom volunteers.  Meetings are held the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.  We are pleased to see new attendees each month and equally pleased with the professionals in the field come to speak, meet and greet attendees.

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THE CYCLE CREW had some great rides this season.  Riders who have been cycling with us for a while are now challenging themselves to ride anywhere from 10-25 miles. Big thanks to Ed Granados for leading our groups, Jerry Alcorn and Kevin Hams for setting up the clinics and Letitia Collins who kept our riders on the road.

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WHEELCHAIR TENNIS is back on the courts thanks to the Marriott Desert Springs.  We had a terrific season and the players hated to see the season end but we will be back on the courts mid October.  Thank you to Jim Leupold and Dave Kensler for their generosity of time and spirit.  Clinics are conducted on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.  A growing veteran tennis program is conducted at 3:00 p.m.

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OPERATION ABILITY was outstanding this year.  Twenty veterans had the opportunity to experience an array of sports including SCUBA.  Instruction was provided by Diver Warriors – one amazing group of veterans.  Tennis was provided by coaches at the Marriott Desert Springs Tennis club staff, Anthony Lara and Seth Haynie.  The Marriott also provided golf instruction.  Jim Rothblatt conducted the cycling clinic and Jonathan Waltiere of Fresno conducted a fantastic basketball clinic.  There were nearly 70 riders at the cycling clinic in La Quinta.  Thank you to all the volunteer riders who came to ride with our vets.

A third year grant has been submitted to bring Operation Ability to the desert again next year.  Check back for our new location and new sports.

OPERATION ABILITY is going to be offering one more 2-day event in August at Pathfinders Ranch at Mountain Center.  Local veterans with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

We wish all our participants, coaches and volunteers a great summer.  We will be back on the road and on the courts in the fall and look forward to seeing you all then.





It all started with 4 riders back in 2010 when Jim Rothblatt decided if we were going to stay in this business of helping people with disabilities we were going to make it fun.  Thanks to Bill Nessel, along with two members of Amputee Connections of Redlands and Pops Carter, a Coachella Valley Amputee, we entered to ride in the Tour.  Over the course of eight years we would invite PossAbilities, UCP-IE and Angel View to join us.  We would ultimately see more than 100 riders with disabilities in this ride that draws nearly 10,000 riders each year.

2017 was a landmark year as we were joined by service members supported by an adaptive sports Veterans Administration grant we call Operation Ability.  In collaboration with Dr. Aaron Moffett of the US Air Force Wounded Warrior program, multiple opportunities  are being created throughout the year to engage veterans throughout the Inland Empire.


Many of these veterans and others will be returning to the desert in April 2017 for our 2-day Operation Ability Adaptive Sports and Leadership event.  During this event the veterans will have the opportunity to experience firsthand multiple adaptive sports and the opportunity to teach these sports to local children and adults with disabilities.

Thank you to UPS, Jim Rothblatt, Vic Yepello and all the volunteers who joined us on the streets!

Much more to come so keep checking back.


With more days behind 2016 than ahead, 2017 is beginning to loom brightly in the not so distant future.  Desert Ability Center looks forward to a year of programmatic growth and outreach.

We have a plate that is beginning to fill with the treats that are the DAC.

Letitia Collins has kept our cyclists busy with bi-monthly rides across the valley through THE CYCLE CREW.  She has also spearheaded a fundraiser that allowed us to award two children with handcycles.

We look forward to providing more handcycles for our children, youth and adults who live with a physical disability with your help.




We now have three, yes three, Certified Peer Visitors who will be re-launching our amputee support group DESERT AMP CREW.  These monthly meetings are designed to support people who may be scheduled for an amputation, while they are in the hospital and after they return home.  Meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday of each  month, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Palm Springs Air Museum.



We will continue to serve veterans with disabilities through our VA Adaptive Sports program  OPERATION ABILITY.  Through this grant veterans rode in the Patriot Ride and will be riding in the Tour de Palm Springs in January 2017.  The 2nd Operation Ability 2-day adaptive sports event will take place in early April.




We thank you for your support while we rebuild programs that are meeting the needs of people who live with a disability and maximize the quality of life.



I was reminded it was time to update our blog.  Thank you Letitia Collins!


To bring you all up to speed, the divine Miz Collins has been extremely active keeping our bread and butter program of adaptive cycling alive and well.  You can follow this program through her Facebook page “The Cycle Crew.”  We want to welcome two of our newest riders – Sergio Sanchez and Michelle Richards.  Thank you both for supporting our efforts and riding with the crew.

As always, our volunteers from United Parcel Service are in attendance supporting our riders.  Kudos UPS!  And Jerry Alcorn – you are the man!  Thanks for getting the cycles in good working order to launch our season.


The Patriot Ride was a huge success.  Fourteen veterans with disabilities rode compliments of the Veterans Administration Adaptive Sports Grant.  Veteran Wendy Clouser was the more than pleased recipient of a brand new Invacare Top End Force 3 handcycle graciously donated by American Legion Riders.  Thank you Gene Hobdy for always thinking of our veterans and keeping them active and engaged.


Operation Ability, CSUSB was also a huge success.  Over 20 veterans from the Inland Empire participated in this 2-day event and had the opportunity experience more than 25 different adaptive sports.  Looking forward to their participation in Operation Ability Coachella Valley in February 2017.


The Cycle Crew is making do with the cycles that we currently have in anticipation of more handcycles becoming available after the first of the year.  In the meantime, numerous donations have come in through online donations, The Neighborhood Cyclery annual No Shave ride and the Webb Foundation making it possible for us to purchase two children’s handcycles for Asher Loera and McKenzie Johnson.  Special thanks to Daniel Rigg, a local Keller Williams realtor who rallied the troops to donate. A third handcycle will be purchased in the coming months for our newest mini-rider.  The handcycles awarded to the kids are original designs by our friend Seth Arseneau from Albuquerque, New Mexico.



We are in the early planning stages for the upcoming Tour de Palm Springs and anticipate seeing an increase in the number of paracyclists who are participating through DAC.  Out of area cyclists who may required a handcycle or recumbent cycle, should contact Letitia at to reserve a cycle.

Please check back on our website or on our Facebook page for the link to the Tour website that will insure your registration comes to Desert Ability Center to support adaptive sports and recreation for Coachella Valley residents with disabilities.

We wish you all the best for the coming holiday season and invite you to  fill your basket of good cheer by coming and taking a ride with our cyclists.  It’s a gift to yourself you won’t forget.

Judy May, CEO
Desert Ability Center


Welcome to Desert Ability Center. We are in the process of establishing a new 501(c)(3) so that we can continue to develop adaptive sports and recreational rehabilitation programs to meet the needs of people who live with disabilities.

Over the past seven years leading up to the establishment of DAC, we have accomplished a great deal to change the perception of people with disabilities, create opportunities and increase engagement through such events as the Tour de Palm Springs, the Patriot Ride, Santa Paws Run and Cycledelic. These efforts had a clear impact on these events resulting, for example, in the Tour de Palm Springs increasing the number of riders with disabilities from 4 to over 100 and the addition of a 1-mile walk, run, roll for those with disabilities and seniors.

We are firm believers that people with disabilities should have the opportunity to enjoy those recreational opportunities all people enjoy. To this end we have rock climbed and gone off road in Joshua Tree, played ice sled hockey at the Desert Ice Castle in Cathedral City, played in the snow at USARC in Big Bear and wheelchair skateboarded at the Palm Springs Skatepark.

We believe in the power of sport and introduced wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and paracycling to our community.

We believe in the power of collaboration and launched the Coachella Valley DisAbilities Collaborative and the Adaptive Sports Advisory Council to bring together those individuals and organizations that serve children, youth and adults who live with disabilities to maximize resources both human and financial.

We believe in the power of peers and launched the Amputee Connection of Palm Desert to support those who live with limb loss and limb deficiency.

We believe in the power of athleticism and watched our paracyclists begin with 1-mile rides to improving their health and skill level to conquer 25-50 mile rides. These efforts did not go unnoticed and numerous Coachella Valley parathletes were granted funds to purchase their own paracycles and other adaptive equipment.

To create opportunities for people of all ages and any disability, we launched the DisAbility Sports Festival Coachella Valley. This is now the second largest adaptive sports festival in Southern California.

We believe in helping our veterans and service members who live with a disability re-discover their lives and created a veteran focused event called Operation Ability. This 2-day even not only introduces our veterans to adaptive sports but provides them leadership training and incentivizes them to take adaptive sports back to their community.

The future of DAC is focused on continuing to interact with those who live with disabilities to determine how we can continue to serve their needs through a Transformational Change project that will begin this season.

Our goal is to create an adaptive sports and recreational rehabilitation center for people with disabilities. Your continued participation will support these efforts. Support adaptive sports. . .and bring a friend.

Judy May, CEO
Desert Ability Center