At the beginning of 2018, Paul Basagoitia found himself less than three years out from a life-changing spinal cord injury he suffered in competition at Red Bull Rampage, once again standing in front of a bike. Despite the very dim initial odds of ever walking again, Paul had managed to get back on his feet through determination and rigorous physical therapy- now walking with the assistance of a cane. A flurry of excitement and terror filled his body at the prospect of riding again. For the majority of his life, when it came to bikes, he sought to be the best in his field. On this day he wondered. “Can I actually ride this thing?”
If unfamiliar with the details of Paul’s story, the HBO Documentary “Any One of Us” is an in-depth glimpse into Paul’s life immediately after his injury at Rampage, and the many harsh realities of spinal cord injuries. For Paul, the thought of ever riding a bike again seemed absurd in his post-injury world.
If you can hardly feel your feet, how can you ride a bike? How would the pedal stroke work? Will your feet stay on the pedals? What happens if you crash? It is worth it? The inner debate raged, with a clear answer seemingly evident: No, not safe, not possible, not worth it. It seemed Paul would have to carry on with life and recovery without his greatest passion, and the mountain bike community he had been so deeply connected to.
The persistent itch to ride remained. Eventually, Paul found himself finally coasting downhill, once again feeling the joy of riding a bike. Pedaling would be the real trick, having spotty feeling in his lower legs and feet made him feel unstable and insecure about riding. When a friend presented him with the opportunity to try an electric mountain bike, Paul found greater stability and confidence in his control of the machine. A wide door of possibilities reopened.
In Back On The Bike, Paul shares his journey returning to mountain biking and his new future.
Text, pics & Video via SR Suntour