About 17 or 18 years ago Ronan Keating, a former member of Boyzone was in the pop charts.
At the time he had a number 1 hit called – Life is a Roller Coaster. I don’t know the words to this song but, I do know that the very next line is (You’ve just got to ride it).
To say that my life, like many others has been like a roller coaster is an understatement.
I’m becoming famous in my talks for saying that, from the age of about 16 I’d had the words “If at first you don’t succeed, then try try again” drummed into me.
See as I was growing up, absolutely nothing came natural to me.
Yes I was a good swimmer and, yes I was a good runner and, an exceptionally good cyclist. In fact there is an argument to say that I was a good all round sportsman. The fact remains that I absolutely was, event cricket Ian. 😂😂😂 “Sorry private joke”.
Academically I was absolutely diabolical…
The reality is, that I had to work bloody hard to achieve these things. I’d had to train harder than anybody else, do more miles than anybody else, practice for more hours than anybody else.
All the hard work was worth it in the end though because, it kept me on the straight and narrow.
From being age 13, I’d always had ambitions of becoming a professional cyclist and, perhaps one day winning the Tour de France.
What went wrong you’re probably asking yourselves? The answer is quite simple, I discovered beer. Then I discovered that I had the gift of the gab and, I was a bloody good salesman. The two kind of went hand in hand, lots of client entertaining which, invariably meant too much fine food and, wine.
Where sport and alcohol are concerned, never the twain shall meat so, I’m guessing that you can work out which took priority…! Yes I chose my career over sport, fine food, quality wine and living life to the full.
At the age of about 29, I’d got it into my head that I wanted to ride a motorbike. I was living in Frimley Green in Surrey at the time, when before I even had time to book my motorbike training test, I’d bought my first motorbike, a Honda CBR 600f.
Luckily for me I immediately booked my Direct Access 5 day intensive motorcycle training course, with somebody called Richard Bundy from Guildford which, of course I passed first time.
Can you imagine if I hadn’t passed?, I would of had a next to useless motorbike sat in the shed.
I remember the very first time that I had a go on it, I hadn’t even started lessons so I really had no idea what to do.
I let the clutch out way to fast and, me and the bike took off ending up in a bush.
Me being me wasn’t deterred by this because, I soon got the hang of it and, after about 8 weeks after passing my test, I traded the bike in for a used 1000cc Honda Fireblade.
I was hooked, I’d got the motorbike bug.…
I kept the Fireblade for a further 6 to 8 weeks before you’ve guessed it, I also traded that in for a second hand Suzuki GSXR 1000.
I kept that for a short while before I felt compelled to buy a nice, shiny new black Suzuki GSXR 1000 k5.
This bike I had the most fun on, it was certainly the bike that I rode the fastest, 180 miles an hour down the M5, my god the adrenalin rush. I also kept this bike for the longest.
I then bought a Suzuki GSXR 600 race bike and, I started racing for North Gloucester Motorcycle racing team.
Like all good things, they invariably come to end.
My best friend Simon Jackson, the one who witnessed my accident and, he was the best man at our wedding, he rode a Ducati.
After having a go on his bike, I fell in love with the V-twin experience. The ride, the cornering, the handling all made for a much better riding experience.
Therefore, the 4 cylinder bikes that I’d been used to riding had to go, in favour of the V-twin.
I bought an Aprilia Mille race bike which, I soon traded in for a Ducati 999r race bike. I also chose to change my Suzuki GSXR1000 k5, for the bike that I had my accident on, a Ducati 1098s.
I started by saying that life is a roller coaster…..
During the time that I’d had all these motorbikes plus various others, I’d also had a number of jobs, slowly but surely working my way up the ranks.
I ended up being the Sales Director for the UK arm of a company called TeleLogic, IBM then acquired TeleLogic and I kept my position.
My actual position in the year 2009 was Sales Director for IBM Rational.
During August 2009, Simon and I did what we’d done many times before, we rode over to Germany on the motorbikes.
On the 5th August we made the infinite decision to go down to the Eiffel region of Germany and ride the Nürburgring.
After a pretty spectacular day at the ring, we decided to head back to where we had been staying. We’d reached the B500, also known as the Romantic Road. When because the road was so good and so twisty (lots of knee down action), we must have simultaneously thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be a good idea to go back and ride that exact same stretch of again…?
We pulled over….
We had a chat about it….
We arrived at the very same decision.…
We decided to go back and ride that exact same stretch of road again….
That split second decision turned out to be the best and, the worst decision that I’ve ever made….
Let me explain….
It was the best decision because, I met my beautiful wife Yvette, along with her, now my wonderful family.
We’re living in our wonderful home, Stonehouse Farm in the Midlands, along with 9 Shetland Ponies, 3 Kuoni Kuoni Pics, we did have 4 but 1 died earlier this year. We have 4 dogs and, 4 cats along with about a hundred Koi Carp.
It was the worst decision because, I ended up being knocked off my motorbike and, I was left fighting for my life with several broken limbs and a traumatic brain injury. Oh and we have 4 dogs. 😂😂😂
Imagine what it’s like, one minute your on top of the world, a very successful businessman and, an incredibly successful athlete.
Then you wake up one day not knowing where you are and, you can’t remember who anybody is.
You can’t physically do anything for yourself.
Everything that you’d once taken for granted, is now an impossible task.…
If anybody would have said to me a few years ago, that I’d be public speaking to the masses, motivating and inspiring literally hundreds of people to be the very best version of themselves.
Then I’d of returned to cycling on a recumbent trike, especially when at Naidex in roughly 2014, Kiada Eaden formally of AKA had tried in vain to get me to buy a recumbent trike.
“I absolutely wouldn’t of believed them”.
So here I am, a 46 year old disabled brain injury survivor.
I can’t walk unaided and I’m pretty sure that I never will.
I spend literally every single waking moment, not just feeling but, being totally and utterly wiped out.
Do you know what though…?
That really doesn’t matter.
Because, I can still ride the wheels off my trike…..
I’m public speaking to the masses, well I was until COVID-19 happened.
I’m achieving things that anybody who doesn’t have a brain injury and, isn’t disabled the would be proud to achieve.
Can you imagine if I am good enough or, if I am eligible to become a Paralympic Cyclist. That I should find out tomorrow.
Just think of the headlines…”Onwards and Upwards”.
“I’ll never be able to walk unaided again but, I sure can cycle”.