Considered one of the best mountain bike athletes in the world, Martyn Ashton is new to living with a spinal cord injury but his spirit is strong as ever. In 1993 when he was just 19, he sprang on the mountain bike scene, and in later years he became one of the biggest YouTubers doing his long beloved sport.
But in 2013 his story took a turn, and Martyn, while filming a sequel to his all-time popular videos, broke his back. He hasn’t stopped doing what he loves though thanks to his longtime riding buddies. Read his awesome story below.
Why he’s fearless
Martyn, when he was a young boy from England, began his obsession of riding on bikes with motorbikes, but everything changed when in 1992 he discovered his true love – mountain bikes. He began competing in the mountain bike scene, and before he knew it he became the British trials champion. And in 2008, he was inducted into the UK Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
As a YouTube star, his infamous 5 minute “Road Bike Party” video it what shot him to fame. Full of amazing stunts, it received over 11 million views. And it was riding a rail in September 2013, falling 3 meters, while filming the sequel to Road Bike Party when he broke his back.
Ironically, Martyn fractured vertebrae in his back 10 years prior, but was able to walk away without damage to his spinal cord. This time he wasn’t so lucky. After being rehab for five months, he went home, and the transition was tough.
Remembering all the Paralympic sports from the London 2012 Paralympics, he knew adaptive sports were something he could get into. But after trying several of them, including kayaking which he failed miserably at, he knew only one thing would make him happy, and that was returning to mountain biking.
And in early 2015, he finally made it happen. On an adapted 650 cc bike with a bucketed seat, much like the one you see on a mono-ski, he and four of his longtime buddies took a spin. And despite being a T7 paraplegic with a minimal trunk control, he was able to balance the bike as it went down the mountain, using gravity as his minion.
They also strapped his legs to the bike, and after a quick lift onto the bike, he was ready to go. Red Bull was a sponsor and a GoPro captured the entire ride, including the huge smile on Martyn’s face which absolutely rocks. He may never be the elite athlete he once was, and it may never even feel the same again (which he will admit), but he still absolutely loved getting back on his bike. You can watch the entire ride here
When he’s not riding, Martyn now works for the Global Cycling Network on YouTube. They’re the same channel that published his famous video. He is also working with the Wings for Life Foundation, one of the biggest spinal cord injury research charities in the UK. But he’s not waiting around for any kind of cure to move on with life. “I am a strong believer in the now,” as Martyn likes to say.
And we certainly don’t doubt him. Considering everything he’s done since his injury already and his literally famous panache, who knows what crazy stunts this never-say-die athlete may be up to next.
When you have the courage to return to the sport that injured you?
– Check out his site: TryBeforeJuly.com
– Follow him on Twitter: MartynAshton
Watch the videos