A mechanic who lost his arm in a motorbike accident 36 years ago is set to ride again after replacing his limb with one from an old mannequin in a clothes shop.
Steve Robinson, 55, discovered the fully-jointed wooden arm on a display model while browsing through a Hawes and Curtis suit store last month.
The motivational speaker had previously received two prosthetic arms from the NHS but found both of them ‘uncomfortable’.
Seeing the potential in the wooden limb, he begged the store to sell him the display model, which the store manager finally agreed to part with for £69.
Steve Robinson discovered the fully-jointed wooden arm on a display model while browsing through a Hawes and Curtis suit store last month
The keen engineer fixed the arm onto a vest and also created a specially-designed hand that allows him to grip onto the handlebar of his motorbike (shown)
Mr Robinson was injured in 1982 when he collided with another motorcyclist and ripped his right arm from his shoulder socket
Mr Robinson, from Leeds, has been a keen motorcyclist since we was a teen (pictured)
The keen engineer then fixed the arm onto a vest and also created a specially-designed hand that allows him to grip onto the handlebar of his motorbike.
He said: ‘When I saw these jointed arms in the shop, I thought they were amazing and I knew I could use them to change my life.
‘No matter what they cost – whether it was £40 or £400 – I knew I was going to find a way to buy them.
‘It was a spur of the moment decision but I realised I could make a new arm and use it to get on my bike again for the first time in over 30 years.
‘People are always surprised I make my own arm but the surprising thing to me is other people don’t create their own arms or legs.’
Mr Robinson was injured in 1982 when he collided with another motorcyclist and ripped his right arm from his shoulder socket.
Prior to his accident, Mr Robinson had restored motorbikes, cars and jukeboxes and was able to adapt a newly-purchased motorbike to fit his DIY prosthetic.
Speaking about the first time he got back on a bike, Mr Robinson said: ‘I was scared when I took my first ride.
The motivational speaker (pictured as a teen, left) had previously received two prosthetic arms from the NHS but found both of them ‘uncomfortable’
Prior to his accident, Mr Robinson had restored motorbikes, cars and jukeboxes and was able to adapt a newly-purchased motorbike to fit his DIY prosthetic
HOW DOES THIS PROSTHETIC ARM WORK?
Mr Robinson’s fully-jointed wooden arm that he bought from a clothes shop works in a similar way to other, more conventional prosthetics.
Existing prosthetic arms can be controlled electronically, and rely on a patient twitching the muscles in the stump of their damaged arms.
Scientific advances in recent years have even opened up the possibility of having prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by the brain.
The exact details of how Mr Robinson’s wooden arm works are currently unclear. However, it is likely to be controlled by at least some body power.
Ottobock, a manufacturer of prosthetic limbs, say such prostheses rely on using a harness with cables – operated using other, larger muscles – to move the limb.
Or, Mr Robinson’s prosthetic could have been adapted by specialists to contain an electrical power unit that works alongside his body power.
‘The last time I was on a bike, I had my arm ripped off and I didn’t think I would ever be able to ride again.
‘I only rode around a local car park but instantly I forgot what happened in my accident and felt so much excitement to be back riding again.’
Mr Robinson has continued to restore jukeboxes and other vintage pieces from his home since his accident, where he also created the new wooden right arm.
He said: ‘I didn’t have a design in mind, or really know how I was going to make the arm.
‘The shop owners thought it was a pretty odd request but I knew I wanted them because I was determined to ride again.
‘I made a unique connection bar between the arm and my shoulder which allows the arm to disconnect if I am in a dangerous situation on the bike again.’
He added: ‘The arm was more of a challenge because I had never done anything like that before.
‘Once I finished, I tested the bike up and down the driveway. I was frightened at first because to test the bike properly I had to do five or six laps to get used to riding again.
‘I had to go off the driveway and into a car park to change gears. I was scared because I didn’t know if the new arm, or if the brakes would even work.
‘But once I got used to it again, it felt natural.’
Mr Robinson, from Leeds in West Yorkshire, became UK’s first one-armed pilot in 2015.
During a lesson, the NHS prosthetic arm came off mid-air which led him to create a homemade arm out of fibreglass and aluminium he could use to fly.
He said: ‘I had to wait a year for the NHS to make another arm after the first one came off.
‘The second one I got was very uncomfortable to wear so I made my own out of fibreglass and aluminium which is probably worth about £50.
‘Waiting for another arm through the NHS delayed the completion of my flying course; I ended up getting my licence after three years.’
Mr Robinson has continued to restore jukeboxes and other vintage pieces from his home since his accident, where he also created the new wooden right arm