Please check out the photography segment of the

Cycling Art Project here


Lastly, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my wife, family, neighbors, bike clubs, bike shops and our son’s Boy Scout troop. I also need to thank my neurosurgeon, Dr. Anthony Virella and the fantastic doctors at UCLA Bay Physicians. I could not have travelled this far without you. Thank you.

Dan Chapman

Please feel free to email me at “info(at)”


Welcome to the Cycling Art Project, an exploration into the essence of cycling. This project presents my original artwork, photography and writings about my experiences as a hard-core cyclist in Southern California. I was a fit club cyclist who enjoyed all the rides that the area has to offer. I participated in the intense early morning weekday club rides in Santa Monica and South Bay. On the weekends I participated in the classic group rides from Simi Valley to San Pedro. My specialty was climbing and I spent many hours in the hills, savoring the steep ups and downs of the twisty mountain roads. Then, on December 1, 2012, I suffered devastating injuries while cycling on Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California. I was struck from behind by an out of control speeding pickup truck traveling over 45 mph.

I awoke two and a half weeks later in a hospital, groggy and unaware of what had happened. I had suffered a broken neck at the C1-C2 vertebrae, damaged vertebra in my lower back as well as a major concussion. In other words, SCI, (Spinal Cord Injury) and BTI, (Brain Trauma Injury). Several months later, I needed two additional surgeries on my neck to stabilize the hardware that had been placed there in my first round of surgeries. I am incredibly lucky to be alive and fortunately, I am able to walk. Unfortunately, though, I can no longer ride a bike or participate in most sports. My spine no longer has any real flexibility and with the spinal injury, it just is not a good idea. This was difficult to accept as I have participated in sports and outdoor activities my entire life as a high school swimmer, runner, cyclist and Eagle Scout dad.

As I began my long recovery, I was forced to reboot physically and emotionally, such as re-learning how to walk and run. I know it’s a cliché, but I had to learn how to literally put one foot in front of another to move on with life. I found that I needed a way to stay connected to cycling, my teammates and the landscape that I had once so enjoyed as it was simply part of me. I began making small gouache painting of my cycling experiences, and slowly re-taught myself how to draw and paint. I had been an artist in a previous life, before children, job and other responsibilities took over. I found that my new artwork was helping me to heal emotionally as it was tough to loose something I had enjoyed so much. I also found that art making was very helpful with my complex healing process.

The Cycling Art Project isn’t just about cycling, it’s revealing, investigating and expressing how good it is to be alive. It is also about sadness and how fragile existence is. This project presents these ideas with a dose of humor, grace and minimalism that I hope all can enjoy. I cannot recover what I have lost, but I can illuminate what I have found. Recovery is a humbling and emotional experience that requires patience I didn’t know I had, the ability to function despite daily frustrations and a deep sense of hope that is innate in all of us.