New Orleans, La. -- Former Saint Steve Gleason was surprised with an early Christmas present Thursday morning, a custom-made tandem bicycle that will allow him to ride outdoors.
The tandem was funded by UnitedHealthCare and designed and built by Ride 2 Recovery, an organization that provides cycling programs for injured U.S. veterans.
"It's a great, great Christmas present," said Gleason's wife, Michel, as she watched volunteers complete the final assembly outside the family's home.
Michel said cycling became Steve's sport of choice after his retirement from the NFL.
The one-of-a-kind tandem is not your grandfather's Schwinn. The 12-foot-long two-seater comes with 30 speeds and electronic shifting.
"There's no adjusting of cables," Scott Moro of Ride 2 Recovery.
Gleason, who has shared with the public his battle with ALS disease, hopes to participate next March in the group's Gulf Coast Challenge, a 450-mile ride with injured veterans.
"I'm just grateful to them for being supportive," Gleason said.