A SWANSEA engineer who spent a year in a wheelchair said interest in his four-wheeled mountain bike was growing.
Calvin Williams is refining prototypes to create a product which he hopes will one day be built in Wales.
Mr Williams suffered terrible leg injuries after falling around 50ft from cliffs at Bracelet Bay in 2004.
“I was just too close to the edge,” he said.
To this day he finds cycling easier than walking.
But his experience, combined with his materials science background, have spurred him on to design and commercialise a mountain bike for disabled and able-bodied people.
Project Enduro was born.
“Everyone wanted a go-kart when they were a 10-year-old,” said Mr Williams. “We have made one with Formula 1 technology.”
The mountain bike has carbon fibre seating and boasts top end suspension technology.
“Anyone who sees it, particularly lads, wants to ride it,” he said.
It has no means of propulsion, except gravity, meaning it is for downhill trails only. Riders must reach the top by van or, in more developed mountain-biking areas, gondola.
Testing has taken place at Swansea’s Kilvey Hill and Afan Forest Park, near Port Talbot, among other places.
Mr Williams, 40, of Sketty, is adamant the four-wheeler can be a winner, and claimed there was little else out there to rival it.
The Gower College Swansea lecturer is now working on the project full-time with two colleagues.
It is still early days, but Mr Williams reckons each four-wheeler will cost £10,000 to £12,000. He insisted that buyers, such as mountain bike centres, would get value for money.
“It’s actually quite a bargain,” he said.
Interest is there, he said, from Australia, Canada and California.
Project Enduro is backed by £300,000 of European Regional Development Fund money, via the Welsh Government, and is based at University of Wales Trinity Saint David Swansea.
The project’s finishing date is December 31 next year - and the team has also secured £200,000 of investment from industrial partners.
Mr Williams said he missed teaching, but added: “I’m working with disabled people, elite athletes and with really motivated staff.”