My name is Michael and it's not the first time I've shared my story here on pinkbike, but it's the first time I'm asking for your help.
How many bikes are enough bikes? We all know that there is no such thing. Even if you miraculously manage not to break one, finally you will reach the point when the bike is simply not good enough or riding it becomes dangerous.
I've reached this points and now I simply need a new bike to continue doing what I've been loving for the past 15 years.
Here is why I need you to step in for me. I can't get any funding right now even though I' ve tried asking for sponsorship countless times. My parents are already helping a lot, and my daily work alone won't allow me to save such amount of cash. Due to a COVID situation, I'm out of a job. I am a full-time bike film editor and as you can imagine that business is not doing well right now. Few planned gigs to edit went South and I am trying my best to put food on a table and train as much as the budget provides.
My favorite project so far, done with @ryys
As you can see by now, bikes are my life basically. Why am I asking you for help? Because bikes took my life as well.
Long story short, I got hooked on freeride MTB when I was 14, bought first freeride bike when was 17. Honestly, there is not much to say about my riding, I've never been any particularly crazy, just loved having fun on my bike, with my crew, filming, shooting photos and creating good memories. Living the MTB lifestyle.
In 2014 I felt ready to make my biggest dream happen - travel to Whistler and shreeedddd! Saved a lot, got broke and just did it. During my 20 day trip, I rode countless laps on A-line and Dirt Merchant, step by step building up my confidence to finally, on the last day, hit the infamous Crabapple Hits. The first two were no problem, but third, a big stepdown got me.
I was thinking a lot about that crash. Way too much. What happened? I went nose heavy and landed on my head, well, better riders than me have done that, but I got unlucky and broke my neck having spinal cord injury. The severe one.
After the accident I had no other choice than dedicate my life to physiotherapy, 3 to 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, always believing that one day, I'm going to ride bikes again.
This won't happen anytime soon though, so I had to get a handbike to stay sane.
It pretty much saved my life when things were getting worse and worse. These rides were my first moments of pure happiness after the accident. Even though I had to start from nothing, the feeling of movement, connecting with nature, finding flow and pushing myself turned out the same as before. Just you know, way slower and lamer.
The bike I had bought was perfect for that period, providing tons of fun and being an amazing exercise as well. I rode it till the wheels fell off. It gave up couple times already but I am not looking forward to doing the same. I made a huge step forward, cleared all the accessible routes and I am hoping to ride real mountains as soon as possible. But this bike simply wouldn't survive riding any bikepark or just longer, rougher descents. I need a proper MTB handbike.
And there is only one choice:https://bowheadcorp.com/
Why this one? Here is a simple reason.
It safely unlocks new trails to ride with my friends. Just check what this bike is capable of! The construction allows to turn better and ride off-camber without rolling on the side which is the worst thing about my current bike. Literally, every off-camber section is like a coin toss for me- either I crash or somehow ride through it. It has full suspension so I can finally ride rougher terrain without worrying about what's going to happen to my spine and butt. Guys who designed it did an amazing job of adapting it for quadriplegics. As a quad, I don't have working fingers and almost no grip and tricep. Right now I ride with my hands tied to the bars and operate all brakes at once with my elbow. A new bike would allow me to use front and rear brake separately without tying my hands which would be amazing too and lead to being safer both on trail and on a road. This bike is not even an upgrade- it's a whole new universe of possibilities. Not to mention that I use my bike as a physio machine as much as my psychotherapist - it works like a charm leaving all the bad thoughts in the dirt behind me. It would be the next big step for my rehabilitation.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in comments or contact me over pm @nikifor88
or via IG @niki
I was thinking what can I do for you in return for donations and there's an idea. As I work as an editor, for every 100 euro donated I will edit you 1 minute of video. This can be your gopro footage, movie from holidays, a wedding, anything. Maybe except fatbiking. Fatbiking is 200 euro.
I totally understand and respect that you could rather support someone else in a worse condition than I am. Yet, if you decide to donate, it will mean a world to me and I will be forever grateful, just as I am to everyone who helped me in the past six years. You made a human happy again.
Thank you for your time and all the donations.https://www.gofundme.com/f/mountain-bike-for-quadriplegic-freerider
See you on the trails!
ps. I am really thankful for people who believe in me and helped me organize this founding. It's hard to win with depression and to convince myself it's ok to ask for support. Even if I'm sure pinkbike community is the one that will understand me. Also, I want to thank @polok
and @pushthebutton.xd who helped to keep my head straight and @ebeb
for all the biking together. It really cures for my mind. I love you, folks.