King pedals backwards to stay healthy, raise money for a good cause

Rudy King turns heads when he rides his bicycle backwards through Queen Creek. Mr. King, who was hospitalized after a horse-riding accident when he was 6, employs the technique as a way to stay in shape. (Independent Newspapers/Wendy Miller)

A Queen Creek man’s choice of exercise is turning heads around town.

“I saw … the guy riding backwards two weeks ago, he was headed east on Rittenhouse. I was like WTH is he doing?! … My daughter saw this one and giggled. She’s 4. … Love this town!” Kristen Betz of Queen Creek wrote on Facebook in response to others inquiring about the identity of the man they have seen pedaling his bicycle backwards through the town of Queen Creek.

Rudy King said he rides his bike backwards as a way of staying healthy and to draw attention to a nonprofit organization he supports.

Mr. King, 46, began riding backwards when he was 15 after watching a fellow student employ the technique, he said during an interview at Desert Mountain Park, 22201 S. Hawes Road, near the bike trail he frequents. Being a visual person, he observed how the other rider handled his bike, using quick looks over his shoulder to see where he was heading, and quickly picked it up.

He rides a stock bike. No modifications are needed to ride it backwards or to accommodate his 6-foot, 6-inch frame, Mr. King said. He rides about 15 miles a day five to six days a week, mostly in Queen Creek and into the surrounding communities, he said. He does abdomen exercises and is working toward his goal to do 100 push-ups (he’s up to 90 or so, according to posts on his Facebook page), but biking is his primary work-out.

Maintaining his good health is important to Mr. King, he said, because he knows first-hand how quickly it can be taken way. At age 6, he spent 16 days in a hospital due to the severe injuries he received after being thrown by a horse he was riding. His father, a diabetic, died at age 59.

The loss of his father motivated him to pedal for a good cause, Mr. King said.

On June 26, he independently raised money riding his bike backwards 26 miles from east Mesa to Tempe Town Lake to donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The father of three is training for another independent ride in 2017 during which he plans to pedal backwards from Queen Creek to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. He estimates he will cover about 66 miles by bike.

“Riding backwards draws so much attention for a good cause. If I can give back some how, some way, I get the reward of helping others,” Mr. King said. “My father said if you do something for others, it comes back tenfold. I teach that to my son, to go a long way with integrity.”

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at qcnews@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123. Be sure to like us at www.facebook.com/Queen Creek/San Tan Valley Independent.

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