Keen cyclist, Rodney Andriolo of Kaleen, was involved in a serious accident two years ago, where he was struck by a car. Photo: Graham Tidy
WHEN Canberra father-of-two Rodney Andriolo was struck from behind by a car travelling at 100km/h two years ago, his back was broken in three places, discs in his neck were ruptured and two broken bones were left poking through the skin of his right leg.
He looked so damaged lying on the road that one of his riding companions needed counselling afterwards.
Now recovered, Mr Andriolo has started a project designed to help other injured riders.
His accident at Gunningalso left him with cracks in his head, road burns across his body and a chipped tooth.
The IT professional was hospitalised for two months, six weeks of which were on his back. ''It took almost a year of physiotherapy to get me back to being a functional person,'' Mr Andriolo said.
At his 40th birthday party his friends donated money to Canberra Hospital, where he underwent rehabilitation.
Their donations gave Mr Andriolo the idea of starting ROBI, short for Road of Bones Initiative.
''Bones are the major structure that make up the body,'' the 41-year-old said.
''After the accident I was looking at people riding around and I figured that we were all just a bag of bones and that's where the name, Road of Bones, came from. I've got no grand plan here, I just want to give back.''
He has raised several thousand dollars to buy tilting wheelchairs and iPads for hospitalised cyclists, and has spoken to three riders about their traumatic encounters.
''Bones heal but the mental scars are a lot tougher to fix,'' he said.
Particularly difficult, he said, is the guilt injured cyclists feel because of the strain they are putting on their families, who must help take care of them. ''They feed you, they help you go to the toilet, they wake you up every four hours to give you blood thinners,'' he recounted.