STAYING STRONG: Stephen Murray Autobiography - Week 4 - Ride UK BMX

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STAYING STRONG: Stephen Murray Autobiography – Week 4

10 Weeks of Murray – Week 4: Ride to Glory 2012

 

Stephen Murray, living legend and BMX icon, is releasing an autobiography.

Staying Strong is released on 22nd June, 10 years after his crash.

The above video Ride to Glory 2012 is from a fantastic year – one of the best RTG issues we ever did. Mike King did an awesome job of capturing all the good stuff from the trip, showing the vibe on the road with the Stay Strong team.

See below for a photo gallery from the trip and some choice extracts from the article, by Robin Pearson.


“Staying Strong details Stephen Murray’s life and rise to fame as a professional BMX athlete, moving to California to pursue and live the action sports dream until his life-changing accident in 2007 where he was paralysed from the neck down.”


At the peak of his career, Stephen was known for leading a rather colourful lifestyle. Expect some truly savage stories in the book – he didn’t hold anything back.

Ride UK is building up to the book’s launch with 10 weeks of Stephen Murray content, from video interviews and features with Stephen and the Stay Strong team, to prize giveaways and behind the scenes diaries in his day-to-day life.


 


“Stephen’s story is a rollercoaster of emotions – his story doesn’t have the ultimate happy ending whereby he is now able to walk, he is still paralysed but what it does detail is how to keep positive in the face of adversity, the power of staying mentally strong, living for your children and ultimately hope – he may walk again.

This book deals with some very dark moments, the challenges faced every day as a father going through a divorce, a custody battle and whether he will ever ride a bike again – Stephen may have lost the use of his body but he has never lost his love or passion for BMX. It’s this passion that pushes him through every day. His determination teaches us all that you are more than your disability and that although he has been taken to some dark places since his accident they are also mixed with some of the best days of his life.”


 

Words and photos by Robin Pearson


This team are not only some of the most talented riders out there, they are all involved with the brand for the right reason. It’s not just a random selection of dudes, these guys are unquestionably clued up on why they’re on the team and all care about the cause that they help promote. It was my absolute pleasure to join them on Ride To Glory.

This trip was awesome from the get-go but it took a few days to fully fall into place. The first days are full of funny memories but the whole crew wasn’t together until the third day. On day one, after shoehorning the whole crew into a small hotel room, Priest enjoyed his duvet so much that he felt the need to leave with it. With a bit of convincing it went out of the window pretty well, but he got busted trying to run off with it. We legged it from the angry hotel staff and headed to Nottingham’s Clifton bowl, managing to get a few clips before getting rained out. At this point we were missing Tony Watkinson and Ben Wallace so we burned it up to Liverpool and met Tony at Rampworx, where we had a private session until about 3am. The coolest thing about this was arguably the freedom we had with the MAOAM flatbar. Tony built some of the ramps at the park so he took it upon himself to modify a few of them with the addition of the flatbar at various positions on the driveway and even on the step up.

Jordan Aleppo, working super hard on his tan…

The next day we woke up at Watkinson’s house in some kind of gym room and proceeded to soak up some delicious sunshine before realising that it was really late in the day – with the shifting schedules and gradually inverting sleeping patterns, it seemed it was more likely that we’d be getting moon tans than sun tans. Late afternoon we broke into Tony’s old school, where he and Matt sessioned a good roof gap for a while. It was pretty nuts. Not content with just ticking off the RIDE A SCHOOL challenge, Tony sent the BLINDFOLDED WHIP HOP too. To celebrate we ended the day with a massive carvery and another late private session, this time at The Boneyard – not Chester’s best gay bar as Jordan thought, but a long-established indoor park that is really fun. Owain Clegg hooked up the session and we met with Ben Wallace there so finally team Stay Strong was complete.

School missions.

After another pretty casual start on day three, we headed to Wallace’s house to pick him up. It was all going pretty well until the moment we pulled onto Ben’s road, choosing to turn the van around in his local pub’s car park. Watkinson was desperate so he had to piss against a wall in front of some offended onlookers, then Aloise managed to reverse straight into a Mercedes. What a scene. It was a hassle to clear that up but once we were back on the road it all came good, as while we were driving we spotted a reservoir drainage ditch to session in the afternoon.

“Our stomachs were all pained from hours of laughter or nervousness.”

This was awesome because it was worth a bunch of points just being there, it allowed us to do the flatbar water gap challenge, plus everything about the afternoon was hilarious. From doing three-point-turns on the corners of fast country roads and shifting boulders around the ditch, to storming up crazy narrow steep footpaths in the van, our stomachs were all pained from hours of laughter or nervousness. I can honestly say the prolonged hilarity of that afternoon is a memory I will hold onto for as long as I can.

Surprisingly sturdy!

The fifth day was very exciting. A few days previously, Owain Clegg had mentioned something about a full pipe close to where we were staying, and by day five we had coaxed the details from him. What a guy, he totally hooked us up. The simple challenge to ride a full pipe was worth some points, but that was merely a tick in a book. The real benefit would prove to be the experience of hunting down Owain’s full pipe spot, which was a challenge in itself. Regardless of the book this was certainly a challenge worth trying, not only for the experience to be gained but also by its very nature the full pipe would be under cover, away from the rain!

Rainy day mission into the depths.

Despite this it was still very wet when we eventually rode it, with a little stream running though the bottom of the pipe providing plenty of splashes to cameras, flashes, bikes and clothes. As you’ve seen on the cover there were also frogs everywhere, some less fortunate than others. Anyone who is offended by the death of our amphibian mate there can try riding that impossibly dark full pipe full of frogs on somebody else’s bike, in the wet, and manage to dodge all those guys. Unfortunate but unavoidable. I assure you there were plenty of survivors.

Under a reservoir, we got the cover shot.

On the final day of Ride To Glory we woke up in Brighton and met up with Mad Jon which is always a pleasure. We rode the university and explored the many rails and stairsets in glorious sunshine, where Tony did a beasty 11-stair wallride then Aloise fired out an absolutely ridiculous 26-stair square rail. It was so mad, everyone completely freaked out. Aloise remarked with surprise how he had just turned into a street rider on this trip. I can tell you he absolutely killed it all week. With a few more challenges in the bag we sped over to Hastings, rocking up at The Source about ten minutes early.

We gave over our challenge book and spent a nice hour or so chilling and hanging out with everyone, exchanging stories, drinking some delicious well-earned beer, and enjoying the BBQ before the results were announced. Now I knew we had done a lot of the challenges, our book was pretty full up with ticks, figures, and locations, but as the results were read out we were all wondering how many points we had actually accumulated on this crazy roadtrip. We all knew we had at least a certain amount but many of the points are gained when the books are compared to determine which team did the longest icepick or most bikes hopped, etc. So it was increasingly exciting when the sixth, fifth, fourth, and third positions were read out and none of them were Stay Strong. When second place was read out as BSD we just couldn’t believe it, we had actually won this thing! I know all the riders were really proud, Marco was totally stoked, Aloise was made up, and I felt extremely fortunate to be a part of it. The icing on the cake was a group phonecall with Stephen Murray, delivering the news that his team had just won Ride To Glory 2012.


 

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