Tom Sovilla jokes he's been riding a bike without training wheels since he was 4 years old. Now he is strapped into the bike he hopes will get him back on the road, each push of the pedal fueled with determination.
The La Habra man was doing a 64-mile round trip bike ride towards Seal Beach last May on Pacific Coast Highway when he says the driver of a truck slammed into him at 60 mph.
"He hit me from behind," he said. "I don't remember being hit but when I think of him he has the visuals of hitting me and I can't imagine what that feels like."
Jack Keith was leaving an alcoholics anonymous meeting when it happened. He says it happened when he briefly turned to look at the waves. For five days he had no idea if the cyclist he'd struck was alive or dead.
Then Sovilla's wife sent him a text message, "He's going to be OK. We're praying for you."
"I could breath easier knowing he was going to be OK," Keith said.
Sovilla spent over a month at USI Medical Center.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
Doctors say his rehabilitation could take a year. Then came an unlikely bond. Keith started a gofundme campaign to help pay for Sovilla's medical costs.
The two are now friends and the word forgiveness goes back and forth.
"It was an accident,"said Solvilla's wife, Jenette.
Tom Sovilla is looking to the future and says whether he's at home or on the road his goal is 5,000 miles this year.
Keith knows this could have been a huge setback for him. He went to five AA meetings the day after the accident. And says in March he'll celebrate his third year of sobriety.