Man bounces back from life altering crash to complete 1000 mile bike trip around Ireland - One handed!

Portrait of Joseph Parry in his RST leathers
Portrait of Joseph Parry in his RST leathers

Proof that you can’t keep a good man down… 33-year-old Joseph Parry from the Forest of Dean has got back on a bike and completed a 1000-mile tour of Ireland, despite a horror crash that left him partially paralysed on his left side.

Parry has been riding for four years, and was involved in a collision with a van in 2022 that left him without use of his left arm.

Following an eight month recovery process, he defied expectations to get back on two wheels, and more recently completed the trip aboard his converted Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory alongside friend Mitchell Austen.

Motorcycles loaded with luggage parked by roadside

“It was just bikes everywhere, all the time. It was everything,” Parry told MCN. “I wanted to ride 100 motorcycles before I die, and I got to 62 before I crashed.”

The incident left Parry with a severe brachial plexus injury. It occurred during a commute home from work, with Parry explaining: “It was just a leisurely sixth-gear 10% on the throttle kind of thing and then I woke up in hospital.

“I pulled all the nerves out of my spine, paralysed myself from the side of my throat, down to my fingertips, including my left pec and my left lat. So, pretty devastating damage, and I’ve got a permanent break in my right hand.

Single handed clutch / brake set up

“Where that hand was on the handlebar, the bar went through my thumb, shattered my forearm into three pieces, dislocated the elbow, broke multiple ribs, and I got a stent. Essentially, it means I currently have one hand, and am riding with a permanently broken wrist, because there’s a missing bone that disintegrated in the crash, and they can’t fix it.”

Despite the ordeal, getting back on a bike was never in doubt, with Parry inspired by one-armed road racer, Chris Mitchell who first completed the 37.73-mile Isle of Man TT course back in 2013 at the Manx Grand Prix.

“I saw a picture of him going over Ballaugh Bridge with both wheels off the ground, and I just thought ‘it’s possible. I don’t care what anyone else says, this guy is absolutely slamming it at the IoM with one arm, it’s possible’.”

Irish rural road

With only one hand on the bars, Parry has had his Tuono kitted with a Kliktronic K-Lever 2 system, which places both the clutch and brake on one side. In this case, it’s the right side – along with the throttle and switches.

“The trip was hard,” Parry told MCN. “I was in extreme amounts of pain and immense fatigue, but from a growth perspective, I needed to do it and set that challenge.

“It doesn’t matter if it hurts because it’s going to hurt at home,” he continued. “It’s never going to stop hurting, so do something regardless.”

Motorcycles parked by side of road in Ireland

“I want to be the Chris Mitchell to other people,” he commented.

To mark the trip around Ireland, and to inspire others, Parry and riding buddy Austen produced a near-eight-minute short film for YouTube, which can be found here.