Ryan Drayton's: Guide to amputee wellness and adventure as a mountain bike rider

Posted on 29 February 2024

How to look after your body as an adaptive rider

Ryan Drayton is an amputee and extreme sports celebrityRyan Drayton
Extreme sports addict

As an adaptive mountain bike rider, the journey to wellness and adventure takes on a unique significance. Every twist and turn on the trail becomes a testament to resilience, determination, and the unwavering spirit of possibility. For individuals like Ryan, embracing a proactive approach to self-care isn't just a choice—it’s essential, necessary, and forms a way of life.

Embracing Wellness

The foundation of every trail ride: "For me, wellness isn't just about physical fitness—it's about nurturing the mind, body, and spirit as one," says Ryan, a seasoned adaptive mountain bike rider and downhill racer.

"To perform well, it is essential to implement the necessary warm-up practices for the task, from incorporating mindfulness practices into our daily routines, thoroughly stretching and mobilising the body, to fueling ourselves with nutritious foods and properly hydrating, every choice reflects our delivery of performance, endurance and overall capability."

The Power of Movement

Finding Freedom on the Trails. As an adaptive mountain bike rider, the thrill of conquering rugged terrain fills me with a sense of freedom and exhilaration like no other. However, preparing for a day on the trails involves more than just grabbing my bike and heading out. It's about ensuring my body is primed and ready for adventure.

Pre-Ride Rituals

"Before embarking on any mountain biking journey, I prioritise a series of pre-ride rituals designed to optimise performance and enhance safety," explains Ryan.

“From ensuring that my prosthetic socket fits snugly and securely to performing a series of dynamic stretches to warm up and mobilise my body, each step is vital in preparing myself for the rigours of the ride ahead.”

Gear Essentials

Investing in quality and comfort for mountain biking gear is paramount. Investing in high-performance equipment, including specialist pedals and prosthetic components designed to withstand the demands of off-road riding, is essential. "Gear that fits properly and enhances my riding experience is key to ensuring both comfort and safety on the trail," emphasises Ryan.

Mindful Riding

Navigating challenges gracefully and approaching each ride with purpose and intent is crucial for adaptive mountain bike riders. Listening to our bodies, knowing when to honour our limits, and when it's ok to push beyond perceived boundaries are all part of the journey. Challenges become opportunities for growth as we navigate rocky terrain and steep climbs with grit, skill and resilience.

The Role of Yoga

Balancing Body and Mind, "Yoga has been a game-changer in maintaining balance, flexibility, and mental clarity," shares Ryan. "Incorporating yoga into my weekly routine helps me stay grounded and centred on and off the bike. It's a powerful tool for managing stress, enhancing body awareness, proprioception, core strength, and promoting overall well-being. ”as we age, the need for overall body mobility cannot be overlooked."

Celebrating Victories

Honouring every milestone: "Every ride as an adaptive rider is a triumph—a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities within each of us. Never allow someone's expectations to limit or define you. Try, and you might surprise yourself!” Ryan reflects. "whether conquering a challenging trail, racing on glaciers or simply revelling in the beauty of nature, I celebrate every victory, big and small, as a reminder of life's incredible journey.

A quick selfie to document his amputation journey

Inspiring Others

Sharing the Joy of Adventure Above all, the journey as an adaptive mountain bike rider is about inspiring others to embrace the possibilities beyond perceived limitations. By sharing experiences, offering guidance, and advocating for accessibility, riders like Ryan empower fellow amputees to pursue their passions with courage, support and unwavering determination. Ultimately, wellness and adventure go hand in hand—a testament to the indomitable spirit of the human heart. By nurturing our bodies, embracing mindful movement, and celebrating the joys of exploration, we unlock the true potential within each of us, one trail ride at a time.