On March 3rd 2013, while taking part in his local Eden Valley sportive, Michael Bonney fell off his bike, just like we all do. Only this time, instead of jumping up and laughing it off, Michael suffered a life changing injury. Attended to by doctors at the scene of the accident, he was then flown by air ambulance to a specialist unit where he was diagnosed with a severed spinal cord at the C3 vertebrae. The result is that Michael is now tetraplegic – paralysed from the neck down, requiring a ventilator to breath.
Those of you who know Michael will be aware that he is a key figure in the UK bicycle industry. He has steered the ship at Orange Mountain Bikes on a day-to-day basis for more than a decade and has championed many causes, people and ideas; both inside and outside of the cycle business. To all who know him personally or professionally, even to those who just know him by reputation, the news of his accident was devastating.
There is however, a glimmer of good news! Michael is a man with more determination and ‘gusto’ than most. In the weeks following his accident he has progressed considerably faster than any of the medical staff would have predicted. Each goal he achieves is the starting point to his next target. From the bleakest of possible outcomes on day one, Michael has achieved his goal of sitting upright and operating his motorized wheelchair months ahead of predictions.
Michael gave a great interview to Carlton Reid of the UK’s Bike Biz magazine. Far from dwelling on his situation and highlighting the risks of cycling, this is what he said:
“I don’t want anybody to stop riding bikes because they think they might injure themselves. I want people to get out there and ride bikes. I’ve spent all of my working life getting people excited about bikes and even though spinal injuries happen to cyclists, and especially to mountain bikers, it’s very rare. I was unlucky, shit happens. Get out there and ride, for me.”
So how can we help?
The anticipated costs to care for Michael is going to be in the region of £100,000 a year, for the rest of his life.
At the moment the guy’s running ‘Ride for Michael’ have got big plans for the future by holding event’s in which the proceeds will be going towards Michael’s Trust Fund, but for the time being they are just trying to get the word out about ‘Ride for Michael’ by selling t-shirts, stickers and wristbands which can be purchased here.(If you’re after a T-shirt make sure you read the sizing instructions). There is currently a goal of £10,000 by the 20th of June, and that is to get the project going. You can also make a donation here, remember every penny helps!
A couple of Events that are already in the pipeline are: