The Bike Experience
Posted by: Talan Skeels-Piggins
In March 2003, Talan Skeels-Piggins was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him paralysed from the chest down. He thought he would never ride a motorcycle again. But eight years later, he decided he was ready to learn and bought and adapted a motorcycle, eventually finding a way to safely ride a bike again.
Just a year later, Talan ventured out into the realms of track day riding, and hasn’t looked back since! He knew that like him, there must be more disabled riders out there that would love to have the same opportunity, and in the absence of other projects that teach disabled motorcyclists how to ride, Talan founded The Bike Experience in April 2011. The project is now a registered charity and has helped more than 250 disabled motorcyclists learn how to ride again.
The Bike Experience caters for riders of all disabilities including paraplegics, vision impaired, amputees and those with acquired brain injury. The experience is free-to-participate, and everyone working for the experience are volunteers. Every penny raised through fundraising goes towards getting riders back on a bike, whether that’s paying venue costs, bike maintenance and repairs, fuel or tyres.
But the Bike Experience’s philosophy is not just about getting riders back on a motorcycle. From knowledge gained over the years, the charity has evolved to:
- teach and advise disabled people how to ride a motorcycle by using adapted and modified motorcycles
- assist with the rehabilitation of the individuals who take part
- educate and advise participants what motorcycle to purchase, how to adapt it, advice on riding at track days independently and safely, or return to the road
- improve the participant’s physical health, balance, co-ordination, strength and stamina
- bring together able-bodied and disabled people so that boundaries are broken down and myths of disability are deconstructed
- evolve attitudes in the motorcycling world, so that disabled motorcycle riding is seen as possible, feasible and acceptable.
“When I am riding I do not feel disabled, I feel free from my wheelchair, I enjoy the sense of excitement and independence just as I used to. Getting to this point has been a struggle, but it has been worth it. I wanted to help other disabled motorcyclists have the fantastic feeling of being back on a bike, without the falls and setbacks I suffered, so The Bike Experience Charity was established.” Talan Skeels-Piggins
Please click here for more information about The Bike Experience and to find out more about its forthcoming events.