The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Soul Kind People: From a Life-Changing Accident to Hard Enduro

“I’ve learnt what’s important and what’s worth fighting for,” Vanessa Ruck said as she reflected on her journey to recovery following her accident. Having just arrived in Wales after moving house, she joined us over video chat to share her story on how she became known as ‘The Girl on a Bike’.

Vanessa has always been “incredibly sporty and active” with a thirst for adrenaline. In the past, she found ways to fit her love for sports around a full-time job. She cycled 16-miles to work daily and filled the rest of her time with a range of activities; from kitesurfing to climbing. However, six years ago her life dramatically changed.

 In March 2014, Vanessa finished work and began cycling to her local wakeboarding lake. At the time it felt like a “standard Tuesday” as she looked forward to her evening ahead, pedalling hard. She was cruising along, happy to see that the approaching traffic light was signalling green. But, as she proceeded a car pulled out in front of her, jumping the red light: “There was nothing that I could do to avoid it. In less than a second my whole life took a turn.” She hit the car’s rear passenger panel with her right shoulder taking most of the impact. It was then that she felt her body “crumple” and collapsed to the ground. A few passers-by helped get her to safety where she awaited an ambulance; shouting out of pain and frustration: “Why? … it was a green light!”

After the accident, Vanessa had no real idea of how severe her injuries were. Feeling shaken, she was sent home from A&E and instructed to rest. Despite the amount of pain her body was in, she was “under the disillusion that it was all going to be fine” and remained hopeful that there would not be any long-term implications.

Since the accident, she has had a total of seven complex operations. This includes a full shoulder reconstruction and five hip surgeries. In addition, she has had a variety of treatments – countless steroid injections, hydrotherapy, osteopathy and much more. Beyond the physical implications, Vanessa has been on a journey with her emotions. She experienced numerous low points as she had to come to terms with the changes in her body. “I suffered from something called ‘change disorder’ and post-accident I would refer to myself in the third-person”, she explained acknowledging that she was unable to relate to what had happened.

Despite building herself up, Vanessa would be constantly knocked down again by the news that she needed more operations. She says “It was like finishing a marathon only to be told that you have another to do.”

“THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL WAS CONSTANTLY MOVING FURTHER BACK.”

Whilst her recovery is not over, she now believes that the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, despite being “95% certain” that she’ll need a full hip replacement in 3-5 years. Her positive mindset shined through as she explained to us that even though her hip is a “ticking time bomb,” she wishes to carry on as she is; taking on life’s obstacles as and when they come to her.

VANESSA RUCK: FROM A LIFE-CHANGING ACCIDENT TO HARD ENDURO

Motorcycles played a significant part in Vanessa’s recovery journey. She told us how her first experience riding a motorcycle was pre-accident, when she was living in the Bahamas during her early 20s. As she was on an island and transport was difficult, she decided to get a bike shipped in from China – a Lifan Enduro 250. To her dismay, it came in various parts. Luckily, “a trade for a bottle of rum” meant that a local mechanic assembled it for her. She had an unforgettable time, often strapping a spear and fins to the bike’s side for spearfishing adventures. However years passed after returning to England before she had a motorcycle again.

It was after her accident that Vanessa decided to buy a Suzuki Bandit, a low-cost motorcycle to travel into work on. It rekindled her love for bikes, so much so prompting a trip to Texas for her honeymoon, where she and her husband hired out Harley-Davidson bikes. Together they explored 1000 miles of breath-taking scenery.

VANESSA RUCK: FROM A LIFE-CHANGING ACCIDENT TO HARD ENDURO

It wasn’t long until Vanessa wanted to take her passion for bikes further. After spending a lot of time working on her balance and strength training, she was able to take part in trials and ADV (Adventure Riding). This has seen her travel to places such as Andorra and Bolivia. Incredibly, she is now at the point of doing hard enduro; pushing herself out of her comfort zone even further. She looks forward to competing in more events and hopes that she is able to do a “massive race” this summer.

For the rest of the Soul Kind People article see here.

Check out other Vanessa Ruck media placements here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

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