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05 Apr 2013

The Bike Experience
‘The Bike Experience’ was formed in April 2011, as there was no project in existence that taught disabled motorcyclists how to ride.  Over a period of three years the initial idea has become a registered charity, a total of 60 disabled motorcyclists have learned to ride again and the concept has started to evolve the motorsport world.

In March 2003 Talan Skeels-Piggins, the founder of the charity, was knocked off his motorcycle and thrown under the path of the oncoming traffic.  The accident left him paralysed from the chest down and he thought he would never ride a motorcycle again.  Eight years later Talan was back riding a motorbike on UK track days and felt the importance of teaching others how to do the same.  Talan says “When I am riding I do not feel disabled, I feel free from my wheelchair, I enjoy the sense of excitement and independence just as I used to.  Getting to this point has been a struggle, but it has been worth it.  I wanted to help other disabled motorcyclists have the fantastic feeling of being back on a bike, without the falls and setbacks I suffered, so The Bike Experience Charity was established.” 

The Bike Experience (TBE) charity aims to:

  • Teach and advise motorcyclists who have been disabled how they can ride again, through the provision of an adapted and modified motorcycle which will allow them to ride on track in a safe environment using a logical step by step process
  • Develop a ‘positive mental attitude’ of the individuals who take part. Increase each clients self-confidence and self-belief so that they can look forward to the rest if their life with re-focused energy, empowerment, motivation and inspiration.  
  • Educate and advise participants how to buy their own bike, adapt it and ride at future track days independently and safely
  • Improve the participant’s physical health, balance, co-ordination, strength and stamina
  • Bring together able-bodied and disabled people so that boundaries are broken down and myths of disability are deconstructed
  • Evolve attitudes in the motorcycling world, so that disabled motorcycle riding is seen as possible, feasible and acceptable


The charity does not charge any of the participants to attend the days training, the reasoning is that many disabled people are living without disposable income and would therefore not be able to take part if a fee were imposed.  This decision has meant that everyone has access to this life-changing opportunity.
The charity has national coverage, is pan-disability and tries to ensure that anyone who is interested in getting back on a bike is helped to full-fill that dream.  Since the first event in April 2011, there have been 60 disabled riders fill 90 places (as some have come more than once) from 35 events.  The riders have come from all areas of the UK, and there has also been one rider from Belgium who travelled over to Castle Combe to learn.   The internet has allowed the charity to advise motorcyclists from Europe, USA and Australia, proving that there is also a world-wide demand for the services this unique charity has to offer.
The charity is also involved with the rehabilitation of injured Military personnel.  Talan has made three visits to Headley Court, advised a number of lower leg amputees on how to adapt their bikes and worked with five disabled servicemen at The Bike Experience with varying levels of trauma: Single leg amputee, Double leg amputee, Single arm amputee, PTSD. 

The riders attending the day have a variety of riding experience as well as a variety of time off a bike, with one of the riders having been paralysed from a motorcycle accident eleven months, whilst another leg amputee had been off a bike for 51 years.  In this respect, the newer injuries see how the impossible is possible and it changes the way they see the rest of their lives.  For the older injuries it is the realisation of a dream they have had for over 50 years, such is the joy of finally reaching their goal of riding again, some have broken down in tears of happiness at their accomplishment.  The charity has the ability to really change people’s lives for the better and the results are immediate to see.

The charity was first funded by the use of Talan’s personal savings, which have now run out.  For the 2012 season the charity secured an award for £10,000 from Awards 4 All, which partially covered the maintenance of the bikes, transportation of equipment, fuel costs, instructors’ costs and some consumables.  The charity has was also loaned two Aprilia Mana motorcycles for the 2012 season and given one SV650 from Suzuki to use in future years. Piaggio Group have just signed to continue partnership with the charity for 2013.

The charity is in desperate need of:

  • Funds to cover venue costs
  • Newer Motorcycles – three 600cc machines and one 125cc machine
  • Protective clothing; motorcycle leathers, gloves, boots in various sizes:
  • Funds for Fuel costs of instruction bikes and instructors bikes
  • Travel costs for Instructors
  • Travel and accommodation costs for guest Instructors
  • A large van for transport of equipment
  • A double axle trailer for transport of equipment
  • Tires for the instruction bikes and instructors bikes
  • Funds for repairs and servicing of bikes
  • Funds for Insurance costs (£300)
  • Further venues for TBE to operate from.
  • The Charity has been featured in a number of different media formats:
  • Regional ITV and BBC news reports
  • Bike Channel feature – MotorsTV (10 minute feature)
  • Henry Cole documentary – ITV4 (10m minute feature)
  • Fast Bikes Magazine – five page feature
  • Performance Bikes Magazine – half page feature
  • Motorijder Magazine (Dutch Magazine) – six page feature
  • Kixstart Magazine (Dutch Magazine) - six page feature
  • Demonstration Hill-Climbs and stand Goodwood Festival of Speed 2012
  • Demonstration Sprint run at Brighton Speed Trials 2012
  • Demonstration laps at Britcar24 - Silverstone

For the 2013 season, TBE will be operating from RAF Odiham on their ARD dates (three confirmed dates), and Silverstone Circuit (ten confirmed dates).  We also have separate dates to link in with Mission Motorsport and provide motorcycle teaching for the military.  The link with Silverstone also allows the charity to be present at the UK rounds of the MotoGP and World Superbikes calendar.  The increased exposure will hopefully increase awareness and develop opportunities to forge new partnerships.  

The Bike Experience 2013 Budget (Description & Cost):

  • Silverstone Circuit, venue hire of Old Copse Runway for 12 events £9,963.00
  • Purchase of double axle trailer for transport of TBE equipment to 15 events (10x Silverstone, 3x ARD at RAF Odiham, 2x MS Day at Ludgershall) £9,600.00
  • Fuel Costs for TBE (Riders bikes and Instructors Bikes) for 15 events – 6 bikes @ 15 ltrs each, cost of £1.45/ltr = £130.50 per event £1,957.50
  • Transport and Accommodation costs for 15 events – three TBE Instructors and Guest Instructor £4,000.00
  • TBE bike maintenance @ £300 per bike per season £900.00
  • Tires – one set per riders bike per season, one set per Instructors bike per season £1,800.00
  • Protective Clothing and Leathers for Riders – ten sets required at £1000 per set of various sizes (two piece leathers, gloves, boots, helmet) £10,000.00
  • Portable Awning and Shelter £500.00
  • Leaflets, printing and handouts £500.00
  • Website hosting, updating and design £500.00
  • Accountancy and legal fees £1500.00
  • Instructors fees £0
  • Launch Crew costs £0
  • New Rider Programme – Purchase of 125cc Motorcyle and development of riding stabilisers £2,500.00

        Total £41,720.50

Please contact Talan Skeels-Piggins, Managing Director and Founder of The Bike Experience Charity, to learn how you can support this worthy cause:

Telephone: +44(0) 7900 892920   Website:  www.tbex.co.uk   Facebook:  The Bike Experience    Email:  talan@tbex.co.uk    Just Giving: The Bike Experience
Charity Number 1145547. Registered 19 Jan 2012.
Standard Registration, National area, Advancement of Health.

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