Martyn Ashton is back on two feet

Martyn Ashton has tasted glory on two wheels – winning world and British titles as one of the legends of mountain bike trials riding. Last week he walked down the corridor of The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Shropshire. And he feels like a champion all over again. 

Martyn is paralysed from the waist down, the result of an accident during an event in front of an audience of more than 500 people back in September 2013. Riding in a trials demo at the Silverstone MotoGP, the 40-year-old fell backwards off of a 10-foot high bar and hit the ground with force. “It was a spinning motion,” he recalled. “I landed on my shoulders face down. My legs whipped around towards my face and that is what broke my back – I kind of snapped myself in half. I knew I was badly injured, and I pretty much knew what that injury was. But the feeling of horror was easily equalled by the feeling of relief that I was alive. I felt really grateful, and that was a bit of a gift right away.”

Martyn was initially taken to Coventry Hospital before being transferred to RJAH, a world renowned specialist orthopaedic hospital based on the outskirts of the market town of Oswestry. He spent five-and-a-half-months as an inpatient, slowly learning how to cope with his new life, but his positivity in the face of adversity has won him legions of new fans. His willpower was evident in July this year when he released a YouTube video called Back on Track, in which he was shown riding a specially adapted mountain bike at the Antur Stiniog trail in Snowdonia. 

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Martyn’s famous positivity was in evidence again last week when he was back at RJAH to learn how to use a Parawalker – a special device that allows him to experience, however fleetingly, the chance to get out of his wheelchair and move on his own two feet. He was under the care of Jenny Broadbent, a senior physiotherapist from the Orthotic Research and Locomotor Assessment Unit (ORLAU) at RJAH, who worked alongside physio Rob Fox and Technical Instructor Jayne Jones. The team develop engineering solutions for disabled patients and the Parawalker is one of the solutions they offer to help paralysed patients get a taste of being back on two feet. “It’s not really a form of transport,” said Martyn,  “I won’t be walking to Tesco in it any time soon. But, when you’ve been in a wheelchair for so long, it’s a really great experience to be upright again. To be mobile is a really strange experience for me. It’s really hard work and I found it very tiring on my shoulders, but I love that ache; that feeling of having done exercise. It felt like I was defying all the rules. I did three laps of the gym the other day and I am paralysed – that is kind of funny. Jenny and the team from ORLAU have been amazing. Their enthusiasm and dedication is infectious.They told me it would be hard work but that is what’s cool for me – I wanted a challenge.”

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Christmas gift ideas: 12 presents for adrenaline junkies

Chances are there’s at least one cyclist on your shopping list who constantly likes to flirt with the edge of safety, going just a little bit bigger, exploring a little further away, testing the limits a little harder – and maybe crashing more often than they’d like in the process. If this all sounds familiar, here are a few gift ideas to make next season their best (and possibly safest) ever.

Leatt DBX 4.5 neck brace

The DBX 4.5 doesn’t offer quite the same variety of adjustments as Leatt’s top-end 6.5 model but it provides the same level of neck and spine protection at a much more reasonable price. The adjustments that remain are more than enough to get the 4.5 tuned just right while still allowing for a generous range of motion, and recent improvements have made it easier to clean, too.

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Bell Super 2R MIPS helmet

It’s always nice to have full-face protection when flying downhill on a trail but not always on the way back up. The Bell Super 2R MIPS is two helmets in one, offering the excellent ventilation, low weight, goggle-friendly shape, and potentially brain-saving MIPS liner as a high-end conventional trail helmet but with a removable chin guard for added safety when needed. The chin guard is astoundingly easy to attach and remove – even without removing the helmet – and adds minimal weight in the process, too.

Dedicated gravity riders will still want a proper full-face but for everyone else, some level of face protection will always be better than a trip to the dentist. And if you act quickly, you can also satisfy someone’s inner Star Wars habit with one of limited-edition themed versions.

EVOC FR Trail Blackline pack     

ICEdot Crash Sensor      

Spot Gen3 personal GPS tracker

POC Index DH gloves      

Brave Soldier Crash Pak first aid kit        

Dynaplug Micro Pro tire repair kit

Anthill Films unReal DVD

A lift pass at a local resort

A private coaching session

Gorilla Tape To-Go

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Raptor smart glasses feel the need… the need for speed

With the Raptor smartglasses, Israeli firm Everysight is bringing 30 years’ experience of developing fighter jet display technology to the world of cycling wearables – and it really shows.

Everysight, a spin-off of defence tech company Elbit Systems, is using augmented reality technology that overlays information such as speed, bearing, altitude, position and more directly into your line of sight.

Related: Recon Jet smartglasses review

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Could this display layout be better for cyclists than screens in the peripheral vision?

It’s called Everysight Beam, and the makers say this approach – rather than the peripheral screens used by rivals such as Recon Jet and Kopin Solos – cuts distractions, reduces eyestrain and eliminates opaque display elements that can obscure the field of view.

Another big potential plus is that the glasses are claimed to be much lighter and more comfortable than existing alternatives, with superior optics. We’re interested to see how those claims stand up, and plan to put some test units through the BikeRadar wringer as soon as they’re available.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Wiggle rolls out own-brand wheels

Online super-retailer Wiggle sets its sights on the wheel market with Cosine, its own range of six road cycling wheels. 

Having already entered the parts and components market with LifeLine, its in-house tyre brand, Wiggle is setting up to go head-to-head against some of the big wheel manufacturers such as Shimano and Mavic. The range, which includes three carbon clincher wheels and three alloy wheels, covers various disciplines of road cycling and ranges from £70 to £600 per set. 

At the top of the range, the £600 carbon clincher wheels come with wider rims and a rounded profile, and are supplied with carbon-specific brake pads. The wheels are completed with alloy hubs, sealed cartridge bearings and Sapim CX Delta spokes with CN-14G nipples, 20 front and 24 rear. 

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The alloy wheelset comes with a selection of rim depths and widths, including a six-bolt disc brake compatible wheelset at £180 with a 23mm deep profile aimed at cyclocross and all-weather commuters, and a 32mm wheelset which comes tubeless ready. 

If you’re in the market for a new wheelset, our buyer’s guide to road bike wheels will help you decide what you need. 

Cosine carbon clincher wheels

Cosine alloy wheels

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar

Home Wrench: Things you want for Christmas

With the holiday season fast approaching, I thought it appropriate to skip the handy tips and tricks for one column and do a (hopefully) non-cliché Christmas gift list.

Rather than focusing solely on the obvious things you’ll find in your local bike store, I reasoned, why not mix it up and include items you may not have considered?

Below are some fine examples of items I’d happily receive myself (hint, hint, Home Wrench fans!).

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Hex keys like no other

While you may already own a nice set of hex keys, you can probably do with another – even if it just means you end up with a ‘car set’. I haven’t shied away from admitting my unhealthy buying obsession of quality hex keys, and with this, I can strongly recommend the following.

Made in the USA, Bondhus is a safe choice

Knipex Pliers Wrench

JIS screwdriver

Park Tool adjustable torque driver

Finish Line Mechanics Gloves

Quality workshop apron

Abbey Bike Tools Crombie tool

RockShox (or Fox) digital shock pump

A quality compressor, or tubeless tyre pump

Bike mechanic course

Super duper workstand

You can read more at BikeRadar.com


Source: Bike Radar