Merici Sports™ is a new not-for-profit Community Interest Company based in Devon. Their mission is to bring high quality/low cost extreme sports equipment and tuition to people with lower limb and spinal disabilities, whether they are looking for a gentle ride with the family on a tame trail or full-on downhill racing.
At its heart is a desire to enable people with disabilities to rise above their injuries and realise a whole new world of outdoor activities that they can afford to enjoy. Started by Chris Jones, Merici Sports™ has been inspired by his own experience as a disabled ex-soldier looking for alternative ways to enjoy the extreme sports he loves. Having looked at adaptive skiing and mountain biking, he found that both required purchasing equipment that cost more than a good family car. In the case of mountain bikes, they were also woefully inadequate for the type of riding he wanted to do.
Spurred on by this, Chris first set about designing a series of adaptive mountain bikes that give disabled people a choice of performance levels and price brackets, focusing on Downhill and Cross Country bikes. The vision that created these bikes also saw custom training courses that would allow disabled people to access high levels of performance, using their new equipment in a safe and controlled environment on existing mountain bike trails. In the near future Merici Sports™ intends to continue this trend for affordability and high-quality into skiing and surfing equipment for disabled adventure hounds.
The company will also work with extreme sports providers with regards to accessibility for disabled athletes and their equipment. Making equipment available that is comparable to the cost of equipment for able bodied people and providing tuition in a safe and controlled environment, will be key to the company’s aims. Making extreme sports more accessible will bring all the recognised benefits of regular physical activity, as well as promoting inclusion of disabled athletes into mainstream sports, allowing many families to participate in outdoor activities as a family group, where previously they would have been unable to.
Merici Sports™ are really keen to hear from riders aged 14+ and their families who can’t currently ride off-road due to a disability. If you or someone you know fall into this category, get in touch with Merici Sports via Twitter @MericiSports, Facebook or e-mail Chris on email@example.com.