Quadriplegic biker gets back on road with Triumph Rocket III trike

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A life-long biker who became paralysed six-years-ago is now enjoying the thrill of motorcycles once again following the creation of an electric-wheelchair-accessible Triumph Rocket III trike.

Retired rig mechanic, Kenny Smith, 71, from Glasgow, was admitted to hospital with Guillain-Barré syndrome on Saturday, June 7, 2014 - having felt unwell for the previous few days. He then became paralysed from the eyes down over the course of a long weekend, spending the next three years in hospital – including two-and-a-half on a ventilator.

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Having now regained his speech and later the use of his upper arms and neck muscles, the idea for the special Rocket III came in spring 2019, following a three-wheeled feature on The Motorbike Show with Henry Cole, and was built by Cardiff- based Trike Shop UK.

Kenny Smith got inspired by a TV show with Henry Cole

Delivered on September 8, 2019, the first ride took place on September 15 – with Kenny either taken out by bike riding mates Mark Craig and Johnny McGarrity, or his sons Kenneth and Peter.

"The sheer speed of the thing was absolutely gob-smacking," Kenny told MCN. "My favourite part of riding it was sitting up there, seeing the gaps and saying ‘OK, nail it’ to whoever was at the controls up front."

Kenny first learned to ride aged 10 and has owned everything from Honda FireStorms and custom streetfighters, to a brand-new Triumph Street Triple, which he purchased in 2014 prior to his diagnosis.

The Triumph Rocket III on the road

"It was just getting out in the wind again and getting the smell from the countryside, which you don’t get in a car," Kenny continued. "The freedom of it and then overtaking stuff - that bit is brilliant. It’s unique."

Kenny went on to add that part of his road to recovery was inspired by TT hero Ian Hutchinson’s fight back from injury. Kenny said: "After his horrendous accident in 2010 and his fight to recover I thought: 'If Ian can do it, I can do it.'"

When he's not out riding, Kenny is busy raising money for Guillain-Barré charity; Gain and has placed a large sticker on the loading ramp of the trike, plus two small plaques on the sides, to help further spread awareness of the syndrome. To find out more and support the cause, visit their website here.

Watch a full video on the bike below:

Highway Star from Studio 27 Productions on Vimeo.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade