When Coleen first came to Nextt, a disability support service provider in Australia, she had a dream of riding mountain bikes again. Coleen had suffered an accident two and a half years ago that had left her with a life-changing spinal cord injury. She believed that she could still pursue her passion for mountain biking despite her condition.
With the support of her local Hunter Mountain Bike Association Club and the Trail Trust Fund initiative by Fox Factory, she was able to get back out on the trails with the Bowhead Reach Adaptive MTB E-Bike. With the help of a number of organisations including the Hunter Mountain Bike Association Club, Access Adventures and Rocky Trail Destination – and over two years of planning, Coleen achieved her goal of becoming one of Australia’s first BICP Certified Level 2 Adaptive Mountain Biking (aMTB) Instructors.
Coleen’s journey to achieving her certification was not an easy one. She underwent a rigorous six-day coaching accreditation program at Awaba MTB Park. The process was both physically and emotionally taxing, but Coleen persevered through it all.
During the certification program, Coleen had to overcome her anxiety and fear while tackling the challenges of the course. She had helped build the track where she completed the course, and it was the first time that she had ridden that track since her accident. Coleen described it as an emotional rollercoaster, but she loved every minute of it.
Nextt, as Coleen’s disability support service provider, is incredibly proud of her achievements. Coleen’s hard work and dedication have paid off, and she has shown that anything is possible with perseverance and the right support.
Adaptive mountain biking is a growing sport that allows individuals with disabilities to experience the thrill and excitement of mountain biking. The certification program that Coleen completed is an example of the training and support available for those interested in adaptive mountain biking. Adaptive mountain bikes are specially designed to accommodate a wide range of physical abilities and disabilities, including spinal cord injuries, amputations, and paralysis. They feature modifications such as hand cranks, electronic shifting, and power-assisted pedals to make the sport accessible to a wider range of riders.
In addition to the personal benefits, adaptive mountain biking has numerous physical and mental health benefits. It can improve balance, coordination, and strength while reducing stress and anxiety levels. It is also an excellent way to build confidence and independence.
If you are interested in adaptive mountain biking, there are many organisations and resources available to help you get started. Access Adventures and Hunter Bike Association are just two of the many organisations that offer support and training for individuals with disabilities. Coleen also runs Momentum is your Friend – a coaching business that teaches mountain bike skills with her partner. Adaptive mountain biking is a sport that everyone can enjoy, regardless of ability. If you’re interested in getting involved, we encourage you to explore the many resources available and start your journey today.
Coleen’s journey to becoming one of Australia’s first BICP Certified Level 2 Adaptive Mountain Biking (aMTB) Instructors is an inspiration to all of us. It is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of having the right support.
Click above to hear Coleen’s radio interview, courtesy of ABC Newcastle.