Last week I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Arizona Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Women Against MS luncheon. The venue was gorgeous, the event well planned and well attended. The hard work that goes into planning and hosting an event of this size was evident.
I also had the honor of sharing the stage with a bike. To look at it, you don’t see anything different. It looks like any other ordinary bike. It doesn’t standout, it doesn’t scream of all the latest and greatest gears, tires and technology.
It’s just a bike.
But is it? This bike has MS.
Now wait a minute. How can a bike possibly have MS? Why does it look so normal? What does this mean exactly? This bike has MS?
These are the very same questions and issues those of us diagnosed with MS face every single day. How could I have MS? What does that mean? And my personal favorite.... but you look so good?
The bike looks pretty good too.
But until you get on the bike, put your foot on the pedal and try to ride you have no idea this bike is special.
It’s nearly impossible to ride. The seat hurts, the rims are bent and slightly off so balance is difficult. The handle bars have small ball bearings where your hands go which is painful and numbing. There are missing spokes and missing gears.
The bike that was created in Australia by Grey Group for the 10th Annual MS Melbourne Cycle in March 2016.
This bike is such a terrible thing to ride - that in Australia the Olympian who rode the bike had trouble finishing the ride.
The symptoms made it perform so badly. It was a real struggle – both physically and emotionally.
And that’s what MS can be.
As an educational tool for medical practitioners, the MS Bike is helping those who treat multiple sclerosis get closer to understanding their patients.
Closer to diagnosis sooner and this helps treatment. It’s helping professionals talk about MS in a new way. Less medical more relatable conversations between doctors and patients.
What a great tool and ambassador for MS! I hope that the bike will be available at other MS functions and Bike MS rides across the country. It will put MS and the invisible symptoms and unpredictability in a tangible perspective.
To see the making of this bike and learn more about the story behind it, please visit their website http://thisbikehasms.com.
“This Bike Has MS” is a powerful, hands on tool that can help those without MS see and feel our not so obvious and sometimes painfully obvious symptoms. But is functions. It works. It manages to get to where it’s going, just like all of us with MS.
I may have MS, but I’m sure not going to let MS get the best of me!
Come ride with me!
Author, Speaker, and Life Adventurer
Founder of the Climb On! Foundation