When disaster struck, deep in the New Zealand bush, a minor medical miracle allowed Viv to ride out again.
It had started out as an unconventional holiday for the British grandmother, riding a motorbike into the wilderness back country of these antipodean islands alongside her husband Bob.
They’d hired a pair of 225cc Yamahas, rugged dual-purpose machines suitable for on and off-road travel, from a motorcycle rental company in Christchurch, the capital of New Zealand’s South Island. The plan was to explore the old Maori tracks, sheep-drovers’ trails and forgotten gold-miners’ routes into the interior.
Half way through their three-month odyssey the pair had covered over 4,000km of increasingly rough terrain and were getting confident. Viv, in particular, felt much more comfortable on the slippery gravel trails and muddy mountain tracks than when she’d started.
She was new to motorcycle riding compared to her husband’s decades on two wheels. For much of their married life he had worked for motorcycle magazines, covering hundreds of thousands of miles road testing machines of all makes and sizes. It was only in middle age, when the children left home, that Viv decided to try riding for herself.
And she was loving it. The fresh air and freedom, the speed and the adrenalin rush of banking around the bends and gassing her bike down the straights. Each day was an adventure and the glorious countryside of New Zealand was a delight to explore.
But this latest road was proving tricky. A gravel track through a vast sheep station in the foothills of the Southern Alps, it was ankle-deep in chunky granite chippings which made Viv’s bike snake and squirm alarmingly.
Fearing their bikes’ small fuel tanks might hold insufficient petrol to carry them back to civilisation, they had filled the two spare jerry-cans on Viv’s bike’s rear carrier for the first time that day.
The extra weight made her bike sway and wobble, but Viv was confident she could handle the machine, once they got through this unusually deep section of gravel.
Gunning her bike through a bend the back wheel drifted out into a pile of chippings and snapped back again when she shut the throttle. The fuel cans took over, acting like a pendulum and making the bike weave alarmingly and suddenly she was down with a thump.
Bob spotted the crash in his mirrors and returned to find Viv pinned under her bike. He hauled it up so she could crawl out, but crawl was all she could do – Viv’s left leg had smacked on a rock in the fall.
As the shock started to wear off and Viv caught her breath in the long grass beside the farm track, they peeled off her over-trousers and jeans to reveal a nasty impact wound just below the knee.
With the blood washed away and a dressing from their first-aid kit over the blue and swollen shin, Bob give his verdict: “I think you’ve cracked the shin bone. I’ll have to ride out to find a phone box and get an ambulance to come and take you to hospital.”
“No. Don’t do that,” said Viv. “I don’t want to go to hospital. They will put my leg in plaster and I won’t be able to ride any more. Our great adventure will be over and we’ve still got two months to go…”
“I’m sure I’ve not broken anything. I think I can get back on the bike and carry on after a rest – but not on this awful gravel,” she said.
It was then that Bob remembered a magnotherapy pad he kept in his luggage for easing stiff shoulders and sore knees at the end of a long day’s ride. This magnetic device might ease the pain in Viv’s leg too…
With the magnotherapy pad bandaged in place over the dressing, Viv tried standing up and then, leaning on her husband’s shoulder, limped and hobbled back to the tarmac road a mile distant. The pain, she said, was diminishing and she was sure she could ride again.
Once the bikes were retrieved, they rode slowly to the next town and found somewhere to stay for the night. Over the days that followed, Viv’s leg recovered rapidly and she was soon back to riding with gusto (just a bit more wary of those gravel roads now).
By the end of their epic exploration of New Zealand’s hidden hinterland, they had covered 11,000km and Viv’s leg was as good as new. Back in their home town in Norfolk, England, Viv discovered that she had indeed chipped her shin bone, but had healed amazingly well without spending weeks encased in a plaster cast – all thanks to a minor medical miracle!
Now the couple never leave home without their magnotherapy pads for emergencies, and they wear magnotherapy wristbands to ease the aches and pains of advancing years too.
Soon after their kiwi adventures, the couple learned their magnotherapy product had been tested and proven in a rigorous clinical trial in England and is now a Class 1 Medical Device. It seems the humble magnet, if produced from exotic materials and producing extraordinary fields, can indeed perform miracles.