Re-learning To Ride A Bike With MS

by Sara on June 3, 2012

Ride A Bike With MSDearest Readers,

This week I am re-learning to ride my shiny new birthday bicycle 20+ years since I last had a bike and 3+ years after a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. You could say that I’ve grown a bit since I was 12. You could say I might’ve put on a lot of pounds. You could also say that according to the expertise of Wii Fit, the left side of my body compensates for the weakness on the right side of my body to the tune of 75%. You could say I have little to no balance.

My husband has been seriously biking for a few months and fell in love with it. Our city has a fantastic trail that follows an old train trail and connects to other towns. It’s well designed and mostly shaded. While the summer heat is likely to provide a wealth of challenges to me, I hope to learn to ride well enough to actually enjoy it when autumn arrives.

Learning to ride a bike with MS is going to be tricky. I’ve chosen an Electra Townie bicycle which has wider tires for riding on both streets and trails, a wider seat for comfort, and easy gear shifts so that I don’t offset my balance when changing gears. This may be the most comfortable bike in the world.

I’m definitely no longer a kid, but I hope to feel like it again – I feel so less disabled on this bike than I do when walking. I have one skinned knee already – I can’t wait to see what happens!

 

Do you bicycle in spite of MS?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karen G. May 25, 2015 at 1:42 PM

My first exacerbation came with right leg weakness and profound vertigo that kept me off my wheels for several years. As I’m always striving to attain that carefree childhood state, I’ve got to admit regaining my balance and being able to ride again brings me pure joy! The hum of the tires, wind in my face, going nowhere in particular can’t be beat. Besides being more emotionally rewarding, biking is also physically easier than walking for me. I had one setback my first week. I was riding on packed sandy soil, put down my feet to avoid a collision with my kids, and sprained my ankle. Now I keep to hard, wide surfaces and walk my bike whenever the path is questionable.

Another great form of exercise is swimming. It was my best option for strengthening my leg and later my arm for years. Breaking a sweat and my MS are not friends. The cool refreshing water, slow repetition of strokes and looking back to see that you have more endurance and strength than last week are great for your mindset. I started with just walking the pool, and gradually increased my leg strength so I could actually do a lap, then two, four, eight. It also kept me in shape until I had the balance to ride a bike again.

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