The Bike With Multiple Sclerosis: Riding This Bike Shows You What It’s Like To Have The Disease

The Bike With Multiple Sclerosis: Riding This Bike Shows You What It’s Like To Have The Disease
The symptoms that people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) have to deal with are often invisible to others. MS patients don’t look ill, and they can typically live normal, healthy lives. But the effects of the disease can often cause frustration and exhaustion, and be incredibly difficult to explain to others.Raising awareness about what it’s like to have MS was the motivation behind the “ This Bike Has MS .” It’s the brainchild of athlete Carol Cooke, an Australian paralympic gold medalist in cycling and an avid swimmer who was diagnosed with MS in the 1990s. She came up with the idea of building a bike that was particularly difficult to ride — complete with small dysfunctions in the gears, wheels, and frame — to illustrate what it’s like living with MS. Cooke brought together a team of neurologists, physiotherapists, bike mechanics, and MS patients to help design the bike.In the video, the builders of the bike with MS describe it as giving the rider a sense of “dizzying” unease and an “off-balanced” feeling. Though it’s still essentially a functional bike, the frame is misaligned and it’s way tougher to ride than a regular bike. It’s meant to be a physical metaphor of sorts that can allow non-MS patients to feel what it’s like to live and be active with the disease.“You’ll have to be constantly fighting the bike to stay straight,” Thom Pravda, the bike builder involved, said in the video. “Using particularly heavy parts, it’s going to be pretty fatiguing.”According to the National MS Society , there are some 2.3 million people worldwide who have MS. Fortunately, new medications and treatments in recent years have allowed MS patients to live full, normal, and healthy lives. Carol Cooke is a great example: At the time of diagnosis, her doctor told her she would soon be unable to move or walk normally. Despite the news, her perseverance and positive attitude — as well as regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle — helped her overcome some of her worst symptoms. Research has shown that exercise and a healthy diet are essential in managing the disease. A positive attitude probably helps as well.Ultimately, the bike is meant to show others the obstacles that people with MS must overcome on a daily basis, and it’s a testament to their strength. On their website, the group notes that “By building a bike with the symptoms of MS, the team hopes to aid the treatment, diagnosis and education of this debilitating disease.” Youtube

The symptoms that people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) have to deal with are often invisible to others. MS patients don’t look ill, and they can typically live normal, healthy lives. But the effects of the disease can often cause frustration and exhaustion, and be incredibly difficult to explain to others.

Raising awareness about what it’s like to have MS was the motivation behind the “This Bike Has MS” campaign. It’s the brainchild of athlete Carol Cooke, an Australian paralympic gold medalist in cycling and an avid swimmer who was diagnosed with MS in the 1990s. She came up with the idea of building a bike that was particularly difficult to ride — complete with small dysfunctions in the gears, wheels, and frame — to illustrate what it’s like living with MS. Cooke brought together a team of neurologists, physiotherapists, bike mechanics, and MS patients to help design the bike.

In the video, the builders of the bike with MS describe it as giving the rider a sense of “dizzying” unease and an “off-balanced” feeling. Though it’s still essentially a functional bike, the frame is misaligned and it’s way tougher to ride than a regular bike. It’s meant to be a physical metaphor of sorts that can allow non-MS patients to feel what it’s like to live and be active with the disease.

“You’ll have to be constantly fighting the bike to stay straight,” Thom Pravda, the bike builder involved, said in the video. “Using particularly heavy parts, it’s going to be pretty fatiguing.”

According to the National MS Society, there are some 2.3 million people worldwide who have MS. Fortunately, new medications and treatments in recent years have allowed MS patients to live full and healthy lives. Carol Cooke is a great example: At the time of diagnosis, her doctor told her she would soon be unable to move or walk normally. Despite the news, her perseverance and positive attitude — as well as regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle — helped her overcome some of her worst symptoms. Research has shown that exercise and a healthy diet are essential in managing the disease. A positive attitude probably helps as well.

Ultimately, the bike is meant to show others the obstacles that people with MS must overcome on a daily basis, and it’s a testament to their strength. On their website, the group notes that, “by building a bike with the symptoms of MS, the team hopes to aid the treatment, diagnosis and education of this debilitating disease.”

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