CYCLING WITH YOUR OWN MUSCLES, DESPITE A CONDITION
The diagnosis of ms

My name is Roy. I was born in 1951. In March 2005, when I was 54, I was – to my great surprise – diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My major MS-related complaint has been that it gradually robbed me of my ability to walk.

By 2012, while I could still stumble around with the help of a walking stick, I found myself largely housebound. I fully expected to soon require wheelchairs and the assorted ramps and lifts they entail. I didn’t want to go that way any sooner than I was forced to, but reality is reality. I have taken early disability retirement and I can no longer drive a car.

Activity and exercise

So, until recently, I had resigned myself to the apparent fact that I would all too soon be facing life in a chair. But then, almost by chance, I was introduced to my BerkelBike in early July 2012.

My frustration with my weak left leg and almost worthless right leg led me to rethink the possible benefits of a recumbent trike – I thought that might be my only real option to strengthen my legs. So we revisited the recumbent trike store for one last test ride. I went in skeptical that my legs could pedal the trike effectively, and my wife still feared that even if I could ride the trike, I’d get stranded somewhere when my legs gave out.

But when we arrived at the bike shop (which also specializes in adaptive cycling for people with disabilities), I found my luck had changed for the better. It turned out that, just two weeks before our visit, the shop had received and built its first two BerkelBikes. I took a test ride, and I was immediately hooked.

Tricycle

By combining the key features of a recumbent trike and a handcycle, the BerkelBike allows a rider to combine both pedal power and arm power to drive the cycle. Balance challenges are mitigated by the three-wheel stance. I’ve found that when my feet are strapped into the pedals, my stronger left leg, coupled with arm power, is sufficient to propel the bike.

Surprisingly, my weak right leg is able to contribute to the process – I am able to produce a reasonably powerful down stroke with what I had written off as a useless appendage.

With multiple limbs providing power, fatigue is not much of a challenge. I can rest my legs when necessary, and rely on arm power.

My wife’s fear that I would find myself stranded somewhere is no longer an issue – I’ve been liberated! While each ride I take will exhaust me if I push myself, that’s a good thing. Real exercise! And, “reward of all rewards,” the exercise has already helped improve my walking.

Freedom

To say I’m a “fan” of my BerkelBike would be a gross understatement – I love the thing! It has given me the freedom to enjoy the outdoors again. While on it, I feel liberated, mobile, and self-sufficient. All important things my MS had taken from me. With great confidence, I happily recommend the BerkelBike to everyone, as does my wife and my neurologist.

Roy K. Ross

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