Last reply 1 month ago
Cycling with compromised balance

I used to be a keen cyclist prior to getting MS. From losing my balance (and ability to walk unaided for long distances) to today, I haven’t rode a bike for 10 years. Now that my young son has learned how to cycle, he wants me to join him on a short bike rides around our block of streets.

Is it a good idea for me to cycle with my compromised balance (My walking is very slow and wobbly)? Will I need to learn to ride from scratch all over again? I’m thinking that riding a cycle would be useful exercise but I don’t think I have it in me to re-learn how to ride a bike, and all the falling over that it would entail. Is it true that you never really forget how to ride a cycle? Does this even apply where one has developed mobility issues?

Does anybody have any experience of riding a cycle with MS? Any practical tips for re-learning to ride?

Thanks

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jamoranto
1 month ago

…..hmm. I’m feeling the same way. One day slowly give it a whirl.


blueeyes
1 month ago

Hi I struggle slightly with balance when walking so was a bit nervous about getting on my bike after a few years of not riding. Gave it a go as the streets and roads so quiet with lockdown and I am actually steadier on my bike than on foot!

I know we are all different but give it a go and see. I thought I’d be like a clown wobbling all over then place!

Good luck!


watsoncraig
1 month ago

Have a go on a static/exercise bike to check balance and if OK go for it and get cycling, wear a helmet though.


simone2
1 month ago

I always ride a bike but since my walking as got so bad and my balance i couldn’t ride a bike anymore, so at i brought a tricycle it’s the best thing I ever brought i use it everyday i can go off by myself for a ride i feel so mobile and I have got so much fitter, it only took a few times to get use to it, i kept riding it like a bike, i brought mine from the internet couldn’t get much information from my local bike shop.


vixen
1 month ago

Hi @lemtrada-uk. Yep, a tricycle is a great idea and a nice compromise. I hate to say it, but if you got wobbly and maybe fell and hurt yourself, or accidentally went into a parked car or something and insurance was involved, it might be a little sticky. I think with having MS we get quite good at planning to ensure we always consider the consequences; like, if going out for a walk, where will I find a toilet, what if I need to sit down, that type of thing. A tricycle has clearly been liberating for @simone2, so go for it!!!


strictlysoca
1 month ago

I surprised myself riding a bike again after I recovered a lot of function following getting effective treatment. I think the main problem for me with my balance is that I can be a bit wobbly starting. I was lucky that I was quite fit again before I tried it.

I tried an electric bike in Holland last year and it was awesome. My mate zoeb has one and she swears by it. Might be a bit of an expense without trying one first but also tri sounds ace. One of my bro (who is super keen club cyclist) club mates who is a veteran got one and it was good for him after a stroke left him a bit unconfident.

Anyway if you loved it and young son is motivating on yer bike 🤪


itsmewithms
1 month ago

There are some trike type options and I’ve seen the Alinker but as we live in the country and don’t really have sidewalks to take advantage of I haven’t considered- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4D8bImnTeE


itsmewithms
1 month ago

US actress Selma Blair is a recent addition to the MS Crowd and has had some videos/support of the Alinker you could google for that as well


look
1 month ago

I have been riding my 12 year old son’s bike round the farm tracks (bumpy) while he has got a bigger bike. I hadn’t ridden a bike for 4 years but I wanted to give it a go while it’s quiet round here. The one thing I am careful of when getting off the bike of is having something to lean against like a wall or our parked car. I have found that my balance has improved a lot and Neuro Pilates has helped balance and core strength. Good luck nd hope you enjoy.


stumbler
1 month ago

@lemtrada-uk , I’ve seen a video of a Parkinson’s sufferer, who needed assistance to stand and walk. But, once on a bike, he was away with no problem:-


melaniemann
1 month ago

@lemtrada-uk Hi, I have had RRMS since 2013 and my bike is so important to me. I am unable to walk far but can bike for miles. I do not have an electric bike. The freedom I feel is everything to me as so much else mobility wise has been taken away.
A physiotherapist said the reason you can cycle but not walk far is because you use different muscles groups for it.
I find it frustrating that so many off road paths enclosed to cyclists. I think we should be given a pass card to show we can use our bikes on these routes and not be penalised for not being in a wheelchair. I cannot move for at least 5 minutes on dismount.
I can highly recommend a Boat and Bike Tour starting from Amsterdam and going round the whole of North Holland. You leave the boat at 9 in the morning, the boat leaves for the next destination and you follow your cycle route for the day (very easy to follow) and you meet the boat at around 5pm. Shower, change for 7pm dinner, bed around 10pm as you are nicely tired and you do the same each day for six days. On the route you take in museums, cheese making, clog making and stop at so many cafe’s along the way for delicious cake and cappuccino. You cover around 40k a day, which is fine as mostly flat ground.
I was hoping to do South Holland this year but this Panny D has put a stop to that idea so far.


lemtrada-uk
1 month ago

I’ve been back on the bicycle for 10 days now. I’m overjoyed to be back riding a bike after so many years. You really don’t forget how to ride a bike. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to ride now do to my balance, but I appreciate that walking uses a different type of balance to cycling; in cycling the feet are merely used to pedal. The balance comes from the core muscles and not the feet.
@melaniemann I don’t think I will be able to cycle even 1km now lol. Although you never know lol. The things that I’ve noticed are:
1) I can only push off from my bad foot, as this would allow my good foot to easily find the pedal, to then cycle and keep the bike moving. Before the MS, I didn’t used to give it a 2nd thought as to which foot I am pushing off with. Now it feels like I’m waiting an age to sort the pedals in to the right position to allow me to set off. Any tips? Is it just a case of beginning to push off with either foot and gradually retrain my brain to find the pedals? Or if I got a bike with shorter pedals (so that I wouldn’t have to raise my bad foot as high)?
Additionally I am struggling to stand up and cycle. I find myself sitting down even when going up a big hill. Could there be an explanation for this other than simply fear of falling? May be my arms aren’t strong enough to hold the handlebars and allow me to stand up.
Any thoughts


melaniemann
1 month ago

@lemtrada-uk I’ve never stood up on my pedals to go up hills, steep or otherwise. I’ve built up good thigh muscles, which gives me the extra oomph!
I put my bad left foot onto the pedal first (in the down position) and then scoot off with my good foot, which has time to find the pedal quite easily (in the up position) and this is then also the same foot which presses down first so basically your good foot will be doing all the work at the starting point.
I always stop in the same position as above too. I also always get off my seat when stopping at junctions and put my good foot on the ground and then start again as above.
Basically, my bad foot never need to leave the pedal.
Don’t use either foot. Train your brain to do the same sequence each time.
Also, take your time. Your son will be so pleased to bike with you however short the journey is and build it up from there.
A colleague of mine had Polio as child and has foot drop and one of his arms is twisted and hand set at an angle. He bought his bike from Halfords and they adjusted the pedals and handle bars for him at no extra charge.
I changed my generic pedals to the ones which look like they have teeth (serrated) tops. This makes your shoes stay far more securely onto the pedals and will assist you when pushing down on them.
I would stay away from the clip in shoes as you would probably find you cannot get your feet in or out quick enough.
Happy cycling!


bullman
1 month ago

@lemtrada-uk i used to cycle lots.I used HDOT for 12 years and really helped. It helped with energy & balance. I went to mstherapy.org.uk

It’s based in Leeds.


stumbler
1 month ago

I think @bullman is referring to HyperBaric Oxygenation Treatment (HBOT) :-

https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy

PS My mistake @bullman, it can also be known as High Dose Oxygenation Treatment (HDOT). Sorry.


bullman
1 month ago

@stumbler no Problem

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