About Matt Gilman


My Story

I am a blind trials rider. I have been riding trials since 2002.   In the spring of 2004 I noticed that I was having some difficulty seeing, so I went to the doctor, and I was told that I had some diabetes- related complications and I would need eye surgery. (Ooh, yeah: I forgot to mention that I have Type1 diabetes.).   I have had about 22 eye surgeries in about a 2 years’ time period.

My retinas in both eyes have detached. In my left eye my retina was repaired but it didn't give me any vision back in that eye. In my right eye I had a small detachment of the retina, but luckily it was repaired and it gave me about 70% vision.

The doctor decided to put silicone oil in my right eye to prevent blood vessels from growing where they shouldn't be growing. With the oil in my eye it is like looking through a bottle of olive oil. Not only is the oil there but I have a milky/cloudiness on my cornea, which is also blocking vision. If that was not enough, I also have some fibers growing on the lens of my eye, also in the right. All of this is blocking my vision.

The doctor says that we might go back in for another surgery to clean up the fibers and to repair the cornea. He is not sure if he will remove the oil, though. If this happens then I may get enough vision back to actually walk around on my own with no assistance.

So my vision is so bad that I can't walk around on my own.  I use a white cane to navigate. I also can't see any obstacles that don’t have super contrast to them. When I ride rocks I can't see pretty much any part of them as they blend in with the surroundings. Sometimes when I ride rocks I find it easier to ride with my eyes closed so as to not let my mind think I see something that is not there.

As it goes right now I have good friend support. They help me get out to ride my bike, and they also push me to improve.  I try to help them improve by listening to them describe what they are doing on the bike, and then I give them advice on how to improve their technique.

I really enjoy riding with my friends, working on bikes and promoting the sport of bike trials through group rides and my demos.  When I do my demos,  my main objective is to hopefully be an example to other people who have adversity in their lives---whether it be a disease like diabetes or a disability like blindness---of how to enjoy life and live to the fullest.  When I first lost my vision, I was devastated; it meant giving up my passion for riding bikes---or so I thought.  Instead of falling into depression and self-pity, I chose to figure out how to continue riding my bike, and through countless hours of practice I have been able to continue enjoying the sport of biking.  I want to continue bringing my demos to diverse audiences at churches, schools and sporting events.  If you have any interest in me doing a demo please email me.





    This is the bike set up that I am currently running.

  1.   Frame -    Meta VTT,, stock grey

  2. Fork-    Meta, spray painted black

  3. Handlebar-      Trial Tech riser bar, black

  4. Stem-    Trial tech, 120mmx20, black

  5. Grips-    Velo

  6. Brake-    Magura HS33 rear brake with Phat pads

  7. Brake front-    Hope tech trials front disc

  8. Booster-    Trial tech 2 bolt booster, black

  9. Headset-    Chris King No Thread set, red

  10. Front Hub-    Chris King disc, red

  11. Front Rim-    Trial Tech square drilled, black

  12. Spokes-    DT swiss black color with brass nipples

  13. Rear Hub-    Chris King disc with fun bolts, red

  14. Rear Rim-    Trial Tech circle drilled, black

  15. Spokes-    DT swiss black with brass nipples

  16. Tire Rear-    Continental dakaiser 2.5

  17. Tire Front-    Continental mountain King 2.2

  18. Cranks-    Trial Tech 170mm FFW with a 18T surley thread on cog

  19. Cog-    Chris King 16T single speed

  20. Spacers-    Trial Tech single speed carbon hub spacers

  21. Pedals-    Odyssey JC . , black

  22. BB-    FSA platinum DH 68x122mm

  23. Chain-    Shimano 8 speed

  24. Protector-    Trial Tech chain protector

All Rights Reserved.  Email: Matt@blindbiketrials.com.  Phone: 443-650-8441