Portsmouth BMX racer who suffered serious brain injury graduates with first-class degree

A FORMER BMX racer who suffered a serious brain injury after a bike accident and had to learn to walk again has graduated with a first-class degree from the University of Portsmouth.

By Steve Deeks
Friday, 21st August 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 21st August 2020, 9:41 am

Glen Wicken, 46, returned to education to help him start his own business after the accident during a practice run in 2000.

The dad, from Portsmouth, lost two years of his memory due to his injury.

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Glen Wicken, who suffered a serious brain injury after a bike accident and had to learn to walk again, has graduated with a first-class degree from the University of Portsmouth.

After several years working as a caretaker at different schools and a background as an electrician and BMX racer, Glen realised he needed a change.

He’d previously been involved in touring the world working for bicycle companies to promote their products and had discovered a talent for designing new bikes.

A visit to the university with the school he was working at inspired him to put all his experience together and start a BSc Product Design and Innovation degree to gain the skills he would need to become an entrepreneur.

And after five years of study, Glen graduated with a first-class honours degree.

Glen Wicken Picture: University of Portsmouth

Glen said: ‘It just suddenly clicked while I was on a visit to the university with the school and it made me realise I could do this as a mature student. Seeing the students inspired me and I wanted to do that.

‘It was also about confidence as after my accident I thought “can I do this again? Can I relearn?” and I was lucky enough that I could.’

During his time studying, Glen set up his own business during his self-employed placement year called StepXcycle.

The 3D printed, transportable, electric step bike made from new material sciences went on to win an IMechE award for recognition of working to advance innovation in engineering.

Glen also won funding from the Student Enterprise Centre to help with his start-up.

Now, while he waits for the impact of Covid-19 on the industry to improve, Glen has put his heart into the community by offering affordable bike servicing - with him putting in a bid to build a new website to help develop his business.

Glen’s brain injury caused memory loss, dyslexia and stress during his studies but was able to overcome his problems by using the Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre on campus.

Glen added: ‘Going through university made me realise that I can be entrepreneurial and not be afraid to give things a go.

‘My advice for anyone considering studying at the university is that there are some really great courses for innovative minds that make you think outside the box. My experiences have made me realise that it’s never too late to start learning.’

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