Meet Justin Rokohl
LegUp™ has been looking for a way to thank our troops for some time. As some of you know, for a very long time we had a small thank you on every page of our site. Recently we looked to do more, now that our success would allow it. We contacted some folks looking for a potential candidate who could use our system to overcome injuries sustained defending our country. Within days, our phone rang and Justin Rokohl, a U.S.M.C. veteran who lost part of both legs in OUR service, was on the other end! We decided to 'HOOK HIM UP!'. Here is part of his story...
I grew up in Orange Grove, Tx, a small country town of 1288 people. I joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and was assigned to 2/7 weapons platoon as a Machine Gunner. I went to Iraq in 2007, did my tour, and was deployed again to Afghanistan in 2008. I was an E-4 and also chosen to be a team leader. Three months into my second tour, the Humvee I was in ran over an IED. On June 20, 2008, I lost both legs, broke both femurs, back, hip, pelvis and seven ribs. I now work for an oilfield company called Tornado out of Orange Grove. I had always wanted a bike during my Marine Corps career, but was always short on funds. After my accident, I had the funds but I thought I would only be able to ride a trike because of my amputations. I am extremely happy to know that there is something out there for us. I appreciate your help more than you can know. Being able to get on a regular bike is one of my dreams. Thank you and your staff for assisting me in my situation, I am extremely grateful for all that you are doing.
As of this moment we are arranging to get his bike from Texas and bring it our shop. We will be outfitting it with our LegUp™ Plus system at no cost to Justin. We will also be installing a hand shifter, front and rear brakes on his handlebar, and an automatic clutch to make it easier for Justin to be able to control his bike.
Keyboard Carriage Delivers Justin's Bike
Justin's bike arrives via Keyboard Carriage. The transportation company gave us a reduced rate to get the bike from Texas to Florida! Their Unique Equipment and methods make KEYBOARD the best in the industry!
The bike is a 2008 Night Train with some nice custom paint, and a number of custom touches! When we get done with it, Justin will be able to ride, even though he gave part of both of his legs for our country.
Our first Look at Justin's Bike.
Justin's ride is all about his Patriotism. Air-brushed graphics depict military scenes, the dog tags of a fallen friend and the Marine Corp Logo on the back fender with the slogan 'Never Forget', framing it!
As soon as it arrived, we removed the entire clutch system and shipped it to EFM Auto Clutch. Once Garry from EFM heard what we were doing for Justin, he offered to donate his system for the project. Their Clutch system let's someone like Justin leave his left hand free from needing to use the clutch at all! Thanks for the help Garry!
The Challenge is not only to install the LegUp™ System, which will help Justin balance his bike, but also to overcome the other obstacles presented by a rider who can't use his feet or legs to control the bike!
First we have to move all braking functions to the handlebar, which we accomplish with a proportioning valve to adjust Front & Rear brakes. We also have to use an Electric shift setup, from Pingle, to allow Justin to press one button to upshift and the other to downshift. An Auto Clutch will relieve him from having to hold the clutch handle when the bike is stopped, and Our LandinGear System, will keep him upright.
This plan should let Justin enjoy his motorcycle even with the limitations he has due to our Enemies!
We told you we needed to move ALL braking functions to the handlebars so Justin could operate front and rear brakes with his right hand. We replaced the master cylinder with a bigger one to handle the job. We ran two lines from this; one to the front brake, the other to a proportioning valve (pictured) and then on to the rear brake.
Once the valve is adjusted properly, a single pull of the brake lever will work both brakes perfectly. The trick is to make it so the back wheel does NOT lock up. This is a modification Justin Had to Have!
With buttons to shift with and buttons to control the LegUp™ system, we felt that Justin should be relieved of the chore of holding his clutch lever in when the bike is stopping or stopped. The Electric shifter (next story) is great, but it really doesn't lend itself to finding neutral very easily. The EFM Auto Clutch, graciously donated by Garry at EFM, effectively pulls the clutch lever automatically every time the bike RPMs are reduced to idle. This thing is GREAT! Sit in gear at idle, twist the throttle, and the clutch engages automatically! Justin will appreciate this trick piece for sure!
Without the ability to move his ankles, Justin could never shift a motorcycle. Enter Pingle's Electric shifter! The Cylinder you see here, attaches to the existing shifter mechanism, and through the use of sophisticated electronics, and a bar mounted set of buttons, there is no need to use the foot shifter. The existing setup still works, but Justin will be pushing buttons exclusively.
Press the top button and the bike will be upshifted, the bottom one downshifts. Originally designed for race applications, the system interrupts the ignition system at the beginning of a shift to make it easier to find a gear. Thanks to Pingle for helping us out with a price reduction here. Without a device like this, Justin couldn't ride!
We hit a snag... Somehow a combination of Justin's bike and the electric shifter, caused downshifts to be less than reliable. The system upshifts perfectly! We did not know what to do and we tried everything. Soon a plan was made. Since the bike could be upshifted and Justin could start and drive down the road, we decided a hand-shift lever that could be used if the push button shift didn't down-shift would give Justin the confidence he would need in the shifter. With the automatic clutch on-board, Justin can come to a stop, use his left hand, downshift at a light or stop sign, and be ready to roll again.
It is surprising how many things must be taken into account when you have the conditions Justin has; this one was solved! We are just waiting on a U.S.M.C. Shifter knob before we paint it all for him.
Last but not least is the LegUp™ Plus system we are donating to Justin. Justin's disabilities don't prevent him from riding a motorcycle, but stopping is a problem. LegUp™ will solve this for him. Our patented Plus system, with two wheels per side, will help Justin stay upright as he stops, starts and maneuvers at slow speeds.
We are not done with the installation completely, but as you can see here, the bike can support itself. Justin will deploy the wheels, just as he stops, and they will retract as he gains speed.
Once again, Chopper Design would like to thank Justin and the countless others who have served to protect the American way of life!
It is almost time. Justin is on the road to pick up his bike! We have finished everything and it all works; we have a vehicle that will be safe for Justin to drive with his prosthetics!
We created this video to demonstrate to Justin the techniques his special circumstances and our special equipment will require of him to enjoy his ride. If you haven't seen footage taken with a Go-Pro camera, this will be a treat for you. Have a look and see all the features added to the bike to make it work for Justin! Just click on the picture to view it.
Bike Delivered - Help Justin!
Justin's bike was completed and he drove in from Texas with some family members. The weather was Horrible, But Justin and crew were GREAT! He is a humble kid who believes in what he did for his country; he holds no grudge for what happened to him. The whole experience was unbelievable for us.
We made a YOUTUBE video documenting the time Justin spent in Florida (clicking on the picture below will show you the video as well). We would like to show Justin our support by making this one of the most-watched videos on YouTube! So please tell your friends and veterans that you know about this production and ask them to have a look, if you could. It is the least we could do for a young man who gave so much for all of US!
If you would like to help this brave young man, drop a note to JustinFund@landingear.com or make a payment at Paypal to the same address. Any amount ($5, $10) will be applied to Justin's costs (airfare, parts not supplied by the sponsors, etc.), and any extra will be presented to OTHER Wounded Warriors through the 'Wounded Warrior Project' in Justin's name. Whatever we can do is insignificant compared to the sacrifices Justin, and so many others like him, have done for US!
These Fine Folks have Contributed to Justin's Project!
We are trying to get the manufacturers and others to help cover the rest of the cost of parts so Justin, who gave so much for ALL of us, doesn't have to come out-of-pocket for anything!
Folks who have helped with this project so far are listed below. Please have a look at their sites and support them if you can! Thanks!