MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A triple amputee from Brooklyn, New York is finding meaning through motorcycles. The Afghanistan veteran is making a record-trek from New York to Sturgis.
Bryan Dilberian has overcome his share of obstacles over the years. For his latest adventure, Dilberian and his band of brothers are ready to rumble.
“I have no clue what Sturgis is about,” said Dilberian. “All I heard is what it is and now I'm going to be there and I can't wait to find out."
Dilberian joined the Army after 9/11. He was serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan when a makeshift bomb went off during a firefight in 2011. The improvised explosive device not only cost Dilberian his legs and left arm, but he also lost a friend and fellow soldier.
“All I can remember is my best friend's body on me - just his body,” said Dilberian. “Everything else was blown off. When I came back to life I made sure I was going to do things with my injuries no one has done before.”
After getting used to his prosthetic legs, Dilberian says he started riding motorcycles last year as what he calls “wind therapy” to cope with PTSD. When a friend mentioned he was going to the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, Dilberian's riding club buddies raised enough money to get him a camouflage-covered Harley three-wheeler, so he could come along on the 1800-mile journey.
“I'm the first triple amputee riding from New York to Sturgis," said Dilberian. “I'm riding this thing one-handed and it’s the same one as everyone else. The only difference is it has a power shifter.”
Dilberian went back to Afghanistan as a machine gunner for two years after becoming a triple amputee. He says if he can ride halfway across the country on a motorcycle with five fingers, other veterans who are amputees can follow their dreams too.
“It’s not over,” he said. “Don't let anyone tell you it’s over. It’s not over. Get up. Get off your ass and do it.”
Dilberian will be honored at a concert at Running Aces Casino Friday night. He also has a crowdfunding campaign to help with the costs for the Sturgis trip.