Hi and welcome to my new regular blog on Really Useful Stuff
I was a soldier but 7 years ago my life took a bit of a change in direction and I now find myself a ‘newbie’ entrepreneur and hopeful sportsman.
My career was with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as an Infantry soldier and have seen operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and two tours of Afghanistan. On the last tour of Afghanistan I sustained wounds to my lower legs during an exchange of fire in Sangin. I was hit by an 82mm Mortar (Looks a bit like a rocket to the untrained eye) in my lower legs. This caused complex trauma to both legs with open fractures to my fibula’s, tibia’s and muscle loss.
Due to the ferocity of the fighting it took 14 hours for me to be extracted to the field hospital at camp bastion. A 6 hour operation took place to debride the wounds and save my legs. After the operation a plane was redirected and I was flown direct to the midlands for further treatment at Selly Oak Hospital.
After being operated on throughout the night with muscle/skin grafts and metal rods put in my legs, I awoke in intensive care.
I was medically discharged in 2007 and began my recovery process.
During the last 7 years I have spent 3 years in and out of the recovery centre at Headley Court and had over 10 operations to fix issues with my left leg.
The one thing I have been able to do in between all the complications is ride a bike.
This led me on a personal journey to setting up Military Mountain Bikers (MMB)
So that I can share my story, passion and belief in recovery with others in similar situations. I am creating a fantastic facility in the north of England to assist anyone in their continual recovery and rehabilitation following injury and disability.
Mountain Biking gives a great sense of achievement no matter what distance or level you ride at – even complete beginners.
It is also a great place to socialize and learn new skills.
We are now on a mission to make our facilities accessible and inclusive – we are amassing a fabulous collection of adapted bikes and are creating training courses.
And as i am a wee bit competitive…..
I have recently registered an interest to compete in cycling at the Invictus Games from the 7th – 14th September at the Olympic Park in London.
I have been training hard on the roads around Rossendale and Lancashire. Hopefully I will get picked for the team and be able to compete at the competition. I am also getting categorised for para cycling and plan to race at Darley Moor on the 3rd August.
I will keep you updated on my progress to launch MMB and on my journey to the Invictus Games. Please do check us out and follow MMB on twitter.
(AKA Martyn Gibbons MBE)