Back on Track
The film, Back on Track, marks a significant step in what Ashton hopes will be a continued recovery from the injuries he sustained when an an accident at a trials display at Silverstone in the autumn of 2013 left him paralysed from the waist down.
In the new video, Ashton accompanied by trials legends, Danny MacAskill, Chris Akrigg and Blake Samson tackles the downhill trail at Antur Stiniog in Snowdonia on a lightly modified Nicolai Gemetron - the light modification being replacing the saddle with a ski chair. Ashton rides the trail with his feet taped to the pedals and demonstrates that none of his bike handling skills have deserted him.
Ashton has been planning the ride for 18 months - although he may never walk again, not riding a bike again was never a possibility that entered his mind.
“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,”
“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.”
There is also a film to accompany Back on Track in which Martyn Ashton talks about his journey back from the moment at Silverstone in 2013 that changed his life to sitting on a bike at the top of Antur Stiniog with Danny MacAskill, Chris Akrigg and Blake Samson.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.