Gripping Stories - The Bike Experience

Feb 08 2018

An image of a participant in The Bike Experience

After getting knocked off his Fireblade in 2003, Talan Skeels-Piggings was paralysed from the chest down. Some, understandably, struggle with such life-changing injuries. Talan, however, fought hard to get back on a bike.

Eight years later, he was racing, and winning. He and his team at The Bike Experience now teach others to ride again, tapping into the huge reserve of power and courage that, as Talan found out, is carried by everyone.

If someone had asked me six months ago: ‘Can you ever get back on a motorbike?’, I would have said: ‘No!’ But now I know I can. And if I can ride a motorbike, I can fly.
Dominic Shelley , Bike Experience participant


00:00 - Dominic Shelley
When I arrived here this morning, and I saw those motorbikes, I nearly turned around and went home. It was quite terrifying. It was just, oh no, the first time sitting back on a bike and going was terrifying. And off I went into a mad direction. If someone had asked me six months ago, “Can you ever get back on a motorbike?” I would have said no. But now, I know I can. And it’s fine; it’s easy. And if I can ride a motorbike, I can fly. And suddenly, there’s a whole world out there that I can go and enjoy, and do. That’s why I’m pleased because its given me some life back.

00:45 - Debby Lindsay, Kunal “Spike” Lindsay's wife
We were looking for somewhere for him to ride, for about seven years, we were like approaching farmers and farmland, and nobody, nobody would give us a place to ride, and they were rude, and there was insurance and all kinds of stuff. The soul of riding has never left him, it's deeply, deeply, deeply embedded in his heart and his soul. And when he first came riding here, they didn't know about head injury, which kind of surprised me because it's a really common bike accident. So we've had to learn about what it is that triggers him and what keeps him safe, just all the stuff to make his riding brilliant and he's able now to consistently ride at a safe, stable pace for a concentrated period of time.

1:28 - Kunal “Spike” Lindsay & Talan Skeels-Piggins
We’re going to try and see if we can put Daran, who’s now a; he’s a high-level injury — a neck injury — and he’s ventilated, and we don’t think he’ll ever ride again, but what we want to do is to get him to be on a bike, and just feel it when you start the bike up. You just bit the throttle, and you feel the energy of the bike inside you. And that’s what we do with some people who cannot ride. We just put them on the bike, and they can sense the life from the bike.

In March 2003, Talan himself was knocked off his motorcycle. Paralysed from the chest down, he fought hard to get back on a bike. Eight years later, he was racing, winning. He and his team now teach others to ride again, tapping into the huge reserve of power and courage, that as Talan found out, is carried by everyone. On a number of occasions throughout the motorcycle season, any disabled rider can have a go, free of charge, and get a priceless experience.

2:23 - Luke Pound
I was injured. I had a stroke because of a motorbike accident in 2015. This is the first time I’ve got on a bike in two years. So, it’s all about the confidence. I had no confidence when I first came here. I was very apprehensive about it, and I struggled to begin with, but once I’ve ridden a bike up and down, I’ve really got the confidence back, and it’s been a big boost to me, so it’s been a great day. To feel that adrenaline again as well, I haven’t felt that for so long. It’s a fantastic feeling. Inside the area, I was smiling my face off. Do you know what I mean? Really smiling to myself. It’s great.

3:05 - Linda Hales, Andrew “Roo” Whiter’s wife
When I first met Roo, we didn’t think he’d ever ride a motorbike again. He’d already given up.

I started having problems with my legs when I was 23, while I was at university. It was a genetic condition they found out about after lots of tests. Yeah, it was difficult. Stuff happens - life happens, and obviously, things are going to get you down. But, you know, there is always hope out there, that there are people like The Bike Experience, who will give you a hand. Obviously, they can’t do everything for you, but you know, if you approach them and don’t give up doing what you love and, you know, there will be a way for you to continue. Now maybe it’s not going to be as it was. But that doesn’t mean that what you can do isn’t amazing.

They’re just bikers again, which is all he ever has been. It was worth it just to see the smile on his face. He just loves it. He definitely does do a good thing, this Talan.

4:21 - Talan Skeels-Piggins
All you see is a rider. You don’t see anybody with a disability. You just say, ‘Oh, that’s just a motorcyclist.’ That’s important for the family, but it’s also even more important for the actual rider themselves because they feel just like a motorcyclist.