Paralysed man racing able-bodied riders

A former PE teacher who was paralysed from the chest down in a motorbike accident is now competing alongside able-bodied riders

FORMER Royal Navy Lieutenant Talan Skeels-Piggins, 42, who has previously represented the UK in the Paralympic games at skiing, has turned his hand to motorcycling.

Mr Skeels-Piggins, of Ashtead, Surrey, was given a 30 percent chance of survival after being hit by a car in 2003 - just a year later he was in the "development squad" for the UK Paralympic ski team. 

After a seven year career in skiing, he was forced to retire in 2010 after injuring his shoulders in a crash, and decided to return to motorcycling as an alternative. 

Speaking to Surrey Today, he said: 'I bought and adapted a motorcycle and headed to a disused airfield to try to learn to ride again, it lasted about five minutes before I came a cropper.'

After relearning at Castle Combe Circuit in Wiltshire, Mr Skeels-Piggins was finally granted licence to take part in time trial races. He is quick to reinforce that he is not just bringing up the rear. 

'It took two-and-a-half years battling against the powers that be telling me I'm not going to race, now I am going quicker and closing the gap on the guys at the front. I have beaten other riders, I don't just come last.'

Mr Skeels-Piggins runs his own charity, Bike Experience, which assists disabled riders back onto their bikes.

'When you become disabled quite often your choice is taken away from you,' he said. 'We are showing them that the impossible is possible, and from that any other challenge they face is going to be surmountable.'