Today sees the launch of Back On Track, an uplifting, spectacular film from former Biketrials World Champion Martyn Ashton, who was left paralysed from the waist down after an accident when performing a trials display at Silverstone in 2013.
It was universally believed that the star of the Road Bike Party series would never again walk or ride a bike. But Martyn Ashton had other ideas. He has overcome incredible odds to become the first person with such injuries to ride a two-wheel mountain bike – and he simply had to film it and share with us the unique and moving experience.
His ride through the Snowdonia (UK) mountains with fellow trials legends Danny MacAskill, Chris Akrigg and Blake Samson was shot by expert filmmaker Robin Kitchin and presented by the Global Mountain Bike Network.
Leading mountain bike riders and Road Bike Party 2 collaborators Akrigg and MacAskill, and Blake Samson, a key rider in Ashton’s Animal Tour trials group, took to the downhill trail at Antur Stiniog in Snowdonia to realise a plan that had been brewing in Martyn Ashton's mind for 18 months: getting back on track.
Using a Mojo Nicolai Geometron, a near-standard mountain bike with the major modification of having a sit ski chair adapted to fit where the bike’s saddle usually lives, the four friends went for a bike ride like no other.
Check out the special bike built for Martyn here:
Martyn tells us about his experience:
“Of course I have questioned if I’ll walk again, and I don’t know if I will or not. But with riding a mountain bike, for whatever reason, it was always ‘how are we going to do it’. Never riding a bike again? Well, that never came up,” says Ashton.
“I’ve been riding bikes for so long that I think it defines my life. Riding is such a natural thing to me – it’s who I am. I’m not willing to let go of it despite the situation. All of us who ride bikes – whatever level it is – has the same feeling when they start riding: the exhilaration of riding. The freedom. For some of us that sticks and never goes away. And for me, it’s like that.
“Being able to mountain bike again feels like I’ve got something back that a higher power took away. I feel like I’ve cheated the game and that feels… triumphant. “As soon as they’ve pushed me off at the top of the summit, I was no longer the guy in a wheelchair: we were four mountain bikers riding together and we were having so much fun; I was having the best time I’ve ever had on a bike. Genuinely.”