Video: Eddy King's Story of Regaining His Freedom in 'Tools of Empowerment'

Nov 26, 2019
by SHIMANO  
Photography by Sterling Lorence



Injuries are very much a part of life for competitive cyclists. The weeks, months and sometimes even years required to heal after severe trauma can send even the most hardened humans into a spiral of depression. Yet from pain can come strength, not only to survive but to live life to its very fullest again. After BMX Hall of Famer Eddy King suffered a devastating crash at Big Bear Bike Park in 2013, he spent years fighting his way back to anything resembling normalcy in his life.

“It’s such an unpredictable injury,” says King of his spinal cord damage. “The doctors really don’t know, so they won’t tell you what chance they think you may have of making a full recovery, partial recovery or no recovery. I didn’t want this injury to label me for the rest of my life.”

When King woke from surgery, he had no certainty of what was going to come next. But he knew his horizon had been forever tilted. The grit and determination that earned him a successful career in BMX racing were about to play a very important role in his rehabilitation. After seeking advice and growing his support network to as many people as possible, King took his first steps on the path to recovery.

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA

From the first wobbly baby steps to eventually gaining enough strength to stand up on his own and lay into a punching bag, King trained for hours, every single day. Little by little, he clawed back his muscle memory to a point where he was willing to throw a leg over a bike again, with a little help from his family and friends.

“Discovering I could ride a bike again was equal parts relief and exhilaration, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. But it came back to me,” recalls King.

It wasn’t long before he set his sights on mountain biking again. Sure, it was a lofty goal, but so had been the notion of walking at all when he was back laying in the hospital bed. By working more on his core and thigh muscles and investing in some bike-specific orthotics, the e-bike was the final piece of the puzzle.

“Normalcy for me is the freedom to get on a bike and ride where I want, just like when I was a 10-year-old kid,” says King. “Recently, I went on a ride by myself, literally. I loaded up all my gear, got my bike on the rack, drove to the trail, went for a ride and then loaded up the bike and went home again. To do all that independently with no assistance, other than an e-bike? That was a pretty resounding accomplishment for me."

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA
Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA


bigquotesI don’t think I’d be going out on the trails and doing any of this stuff on a regular bike. It just wouldn’t be as much fun. I need that adaptive, assisted pedaling to get the extra miles in. I suffer a bit of fatigue after a while out there, the pedal-assist gets me out there and back, safely.Eddy King


With a new-found sense of freedom in the mountains, Eddy King knows that it was worth employing every tool of empowerment at his disposal. Having broken down barriers one after the other, rest assured he won’t be resting on any of his laurels any time soon.

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA
Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA
Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA

Eddy King April 2018 San Diego California USA
Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.
Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.
Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King with Perry Kramer and Dale Holmes in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.
Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King with Perry Kramer and Dale Holmes in San Diego California USA April 2018.
Eddy King with Perry Kramer and Dale Holmes in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King in San Diego California USA April 2018.

Eddy King with Perry Kramer and Dale Holmes in San Diego California USA April 2018.
Eddy King with Perry Kramer and Dale Holmes in San Diego California USA April 2018.


Posted In:
eMTB Videos Shimano



21 Comments

  • 36 2
 Makes outlawing E-bikes look pretty foolish.
  • 23 0
 THIS is what ebikes are for. I am old enough to have pics of him and his brother Mike on my walls in elementary and jr high school. BMX legends. We all strive to stay on two wheels no matter if we are BMX, DH, XC, Road, etc. and that drive does bind us all regardless of two-wheeled discipline or our physical abilities. Shred on Eddie!
  • 8 0
 Just trying to remember if Eddie is older or younger than Mike. I remember meeting them at the world championships in Whistler back in the old days. 1985 I think. Good guys. I think they were Haro and Huffy at the time. My whole frame of reference about ebikes changed last summer when I ran into a guy limping around the Smith Creek Trails parking lot. I asked him if he just crashed and he said he walked like that because he was in an accident. He said the only way he could get out to ride was with an e-bike because his ankle wasn't strong enough to pedal. In that case I'm all for it. I hope I don't ride an e-bike but if it keeps me out there I will.
  • 6 0
 I raced the Worlds in 1985 in Whistler also. Eddie was on Diamond Back as a pro. Mike was a few years younger than me and f*cking smoked me
  • 11 0
 Never look at e-bikes the same way again....
  • 7 0
 Hells to the yeah! Another great and inspirational story of the tenacity of the human spirit! Depression during an injury or trauma is incredibly damaging at so many levels. This is a reason I do support e-bikes, as they are very applicable here.
Thank you Eddy King and @pinkbike for sharing another emotional/inspirational story. Keep grinding Mr. King!!
  • 6 0
 There is a guy in my area who rides an E-bike at enduros. People would laugh and ask him why he was on it along with making jokes until he told them why...................dude has ONE lung
  • 2 0
 Eddy is a true legend and a hell of a guy. Have had the pleasure of riding with him and to see his stoke on the bike is surely a sight...especially when he busts out the follow drone. The Silver Bullet is still a bad dude!

Technology has brought opportunities to our sport on many different levels. 'True' MTB/Bike purists should be stoked to see riders of all abilities and ages on any kind of bike, pedal assist included. Let's keep the positivity rolling!
  • 2 0
 Its not the E-Bike its who's pedaling it. I could go on for pages about growing up reading all the BMX mags and reading about him and Mike and hw they both dominated the track but now for both they dominate this life with positive energy and give back to us there fond memories, even if we never had the chance to say hey, but we did anyway through the magazines. Thank you for this video, RAMFB
  • 1 0
 I was up and big bear when this happened and we all wrote an incident report of the accident, it wasn't until a year later I realized it was Eddy that was injured. My boss at the time the butcher brought it up to me by showing me some photos of Eddy's back. It makes me glad all these years later that he is able to pedal!
  • 3 0
 Came here for the inspiration and the "thanks to e-bikes" comments.
  • 3 0
 Keep shredding Eddy...doesnt matter what you ride as long as your riding!
  • 2 0
 The trainer that Eddie worked with is Chad Dunn. Chad is pure concentrated positivity. Working with him changed my life.
  • 1 0
 Holy f#*k Eddy King, the original BMX King!! I had posters of him up on my walls as a kid. Now that is a major plus for E-Bikes.
  • 1 0
 That is so AWESOME!! I'm hopefully recovering from a much less severe injury (patella tendon rupture). I know I will be back just like Mr. King!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Eddy King is as great as they get!!! He dropped everything onetime to help me pick up a friend in Las Vegas that had just broke both his legs racing BMX.
  • 1 0
 Remember seeing Mike King at Worlds in 1993!
I was at this really tech/ rocky/ slippy section which he road at full speed as if it was nothing, amazing!
  • 1 0
 Never uses front brake. BMX LOL
  • 1 0
 Right on brother! Stoked for you????
  • 1 0
 Way to go Eddy! You're a legend and an inspiration. Keep at it!
  • 1 0
 Real Deal Dude right there!!!! No shits given!!!!

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