One and all - a Honda VF Trike in Bridgend

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The following is taken from an article, written by Dave Cooper and printed in the Spring 2011 edition of 'Open House', the quarterly magazine of the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD). This is Dave's story: -

Having, quite frankly, just got it all wrong in June of 2000, I'd thrown an RF 900 down the road resulting in a very broken bike (nothing left) and a very broken me. Broken back, severed spinal cord, paraplegic and paralysed from the waist down, amongst other things. Still, could be worse eh?

In fact if it wasn't for one particularly incredible guy, who hopped off his R6, having parked it in the middle of the road to stop someone coming round the corner and running me over, then fishing my tongue out of the back of my throat to stop me choking and drowning on the mess coming out of my smashed up face, it would have been worse... much worse. That's a big thanks to the Iain Frazer right there! And some!

I then entered the world of hospitals and for the best part of the next year did my rehab at the spinal injury unit in Cardiff that is HMP Rookwood (only joking, that's just what we called it). There the fabulous N A's, nurses, physios, porters, doctors, physiologists (Hmm, maybe needed one of those before the off), cooks, cleaners and general bottle washers, who without doubt helped me piece myself back together. Many thanks to them all!

Surprise, surprise! I wasn't the only one in there at the time who couldn't stay on his bike and before we'd even got out of our beds the talk had turned to stabilisers, sidecars, trikes, gadgets and gizmo's that we thought could get us back in the saddle.

The trike idea really seemed to be the way to go for me. I really do think there's something about these 'biker types' (not sure what it is but they do say there's a fine line'?)

Having been in the middle of a particularly acrimonious divorce at the time of the spill (that would be the adding ''insult'' to injury bit then?) I was also homeless and spent the next two years sorting out somewhere to live, as the shoebox just wasn't cutting it. (''You were lucky you were...'')

The intervening seven years have been about looking into the world of the third wheel, saving every penny I could and quite possibly, probably boring everyone and anyone who would listen to me about the itch I couldn't scratch.

You know how it is?

Two years ago I ran into a bloke who was part of a new bunch of petrol heads of the two wheeled variety that are the VMCC (Vintage Motor Cycle Club). Now if you're a post decimalised pup like me you probably don't give this world much thought, but let me tell you, these guys still have as much passion for getting out there as anyone. John and his pals, who have been out there since before most of us were allowed to pee on our own, gave me the benefit of a huge amount of knowledge, advice and not least, encouragement to scratch that itch! Many thanks John & the boys!

In looking into the whole trike and disabled rider thing I came across "The NABD'' and a couple of years back was lucky enough to meet up with a chap by the name of Bob Sutton who invited me over to his place where he happened to have the NABD'S adaptation rig with all the different clutch/brake combinations on it. He gave me some sound advice and inspiration that lit the blue touch paper, cheers Bob!

After a near cock-up purchase off Ebay (I know Bob, I know) I ended up paying a visit to Bruce down at BB Customs in Poole. A nicer fellow you couldn't wish to meet. He gave me a lot of time and patience, letting me hop on and off all the sports, muscle, cruiser, trike-choices he had until I'd figured out what worked for me.

So last summer having found the right bike, right builder and pulled the last few sheckles out of the back of the couch, Bruce built and adapted my trike complete with a swinging/hinging wheelchair rack that's the mutts nuts.

How ten years pass eh. I don't know how much longer it would have taken me to get together enough money for the adaptations, but the 'not insubstantial and very much, appreciated’ NABD grant for the Kliktronic, brakes, reverse gear and wheelchair rack has got me where I am now.

So that just leaves me to repeat my heartfelt thanks to ''The'' Iain Frazer, Rookwood, the listeners, Bob, John, and, by no means least ''The NABD''! By joining, subscribing, fund raising and involvement, this organisation exists.

So to every one of you that helps to make it work, I thank you, ONE AND ALL!

David Cooper