Words: Michał Święciński
Until recently, I didn't even realize the importance of progression in my life. Yet, being paralyzed puts a different perspective on many things.
What kept me going for my whole adult life, was that wholesome feeling of fulfilment when you manage to get better, seeing that your work paid off. Learning to ride faster on my bike, never ending learning tricks on a snowboard, to everyday struggle to get back control of my own body. Things change quickly, huh?
I realize now, this mindset is both my curse and blessing. It made me go for Crabapple hits back in 2014 when I finally decided to make my biggest dream come true and go to Whistler. I'd been having a trip of a lifetime
, and I could not resist putting a cherry on top of my progression by hitting the biggest jumps in the bikepark. I took a few breaths, counted down and dropped in... Two weeks later, I woke up in ICU after a horrible crash. I needed to relearn how to breathe independently, move my hand, and then begin the biggest fight for progression in my life.
Less than 3 years after my accident, I was riding again on a handcycle. It gave me back the joy of getting rowdy and that well-remembered feeling of satisfaction that comes with unlocking new lines. Then riding those lines even faster and faster to the point when you start to question your bike's ability to handle the next season of progression.
That's where I'm at right now. My bike breaks twice a year, making any long trip or rougher trail too much of a gamble. Progression stopped. Kraków, Poland has plenty to offer, but I've unlocked all local trails accessible on this bike.
I figured out this may be now or never to film them and see if quadriplegic with no finger function can create a proper edit.
Video making is also something I try to get better every year. It is obviously harder to direct being stuck on a handbike with my hands tied (both metaphorically and not), but with a lot of planning, pushing, and enormous help from @ebeb
we managed to overcome all obstacles and create something we are proud of.
I'm delighted with the result and visible progression comparing to previous films we've made, so on the contrary to popular opinion, I consider past year... pretty good. I've accomplished my main biking and filming goals. I love how all those two passions compliment each other. I live this whole MTB lifestyle thing, and I just want to continue doing it simply because it makes me happy.
Being paralyzed from my arms down means every off-camber section is like a coin toss for me currently - either I crash or somehow ride through it. 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. I operate all the brakes at once with my elbow.
I use my bike as a physio machine as much as my psychotherapist - it works like a charm leaving all the evil thoughts in the dirt behind me. I'm looking for the next big step for my rehabilitation. If you'd like to help me push my limits further, you can donate or share my fundraiser
with my whole story inside. Mountain biking is for me something more than just a passion. It's a job, it's a lifestyle, a therapy. It is something that allows me to express myself and feel... Ok. Despite everything.
Thanks to everyone for reading, sharing and donating, can't wait to ride some trails with you!