A paraplegic motorcyclist is back on the road – for a second time – thanks to a custom-built motorcycle.
When Steve Reid lost the use of both his legs in a motorcycle accident two years ago, he was told he would never ride again.
However the determined motorcyclist worked with an engineering firm to attach a side cart which enabled him to mount the bike from his wheel chair.
Against the odds, Reid was riding again.
But, the ride was short-lived for the solo dad.
Reid, a former builder who hasn’t been able to work since his accident, shares his passion for motorcycles with his teenage son Layne.
Short of funds, Reid sold his custom bike to help Layne, who rides in a Harley Davidson motorcycle stunt team.
“Out of love for his son, he took the side car off his old bike, converted it back to a normal bike, sold it and built a stunt bike for his son,” said Paul Shaw from Elite Custom Parts, who customised the original motorcycle.
Shaw said Reid was an inspiration in the motorcycle community as the first paralysed person to race on the Meremere quarter-mile drag strip.
Not riding since he sold his beloved bike was incredibly hard for Reid because riding gave him a sense of freedom and helped him combat depression.
“It was his therapy, better than any therapist money could buy. There is something about getting out on the motorway, get the wind in your face and you just go for it. It is another life,” Shaw said.
Reid has described the accident as a chance to be reborn and wears a helmet with the words “Death Defeated” printed on the back.
Friends have now rallied around to get Reid back on a bike for the second time.
The Auckland motorcycle community held a special event at the Harley Davidson store in Mt Wellington this morning, to help fund a bike for the “community icon”.
Reid thought the fundraising ride today was organised to help raise funds to put towards the custom bike. But his friends had secretly rallied together to help him get back on the road.
Just before the ride was about to start, the modified Harley Davidson was rolled out.
The bike features a side car to carry a wheelchair, “suicide shifters” to enable a rider to change gear and brake without their feet and a flame-red paint job by Kolorinn Kustoms.
Dion Tilson from the NZ Chopper Club said riding without using legs was difficult but that Reid was remarkably fluent.
“I’ve spent my whole life riding, and I don’t know how he does it. There is so much going on with your hands, while staying stable,” he said.
Reid said he was “gob-smacked” by the gift of the bike.
“It’s not just helping me, it’s helping my son. Being back on the road is gonna be a massive thing for me,” he said.
“I can only thank you all from the bottom of my heart, let’s get out there and ride.”