Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Can’t Walk? Get on Yer Bike…


Here’s another YouTube video, with footage from the Netherlands of a gentleman who is having extreme difficulty walking, but who can ride a bike without difficulty:

This is footage shot by the chap’s doctor, uploaded in April 2010. There is an accompanying short article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The person who posted this video felt obliged to say that, in the Netherlands, it is neither legally required nor customary to where a cycle helmet. If you look at the comments on YouTube, you’ll find someone – who evidently hasn’t read this note, nor considered that this is unlikely to have been the first time that the fellow has performed this feat – complaining that, “given his history … they might have put a helmet on him.”

When I first saw this video, I was rather concerned that he would cycle off into the sunset, never to be seen again, unable to stop or steer – but he proves himself perfectly capable of controlling his machine, even dismounting by himself at the end. I do, however, find it a little disconcerting that – from the evidence in the video – it seems as if he has to be placed on the bicycle and given a good push to start. Not very practical, that.

Still, it is suggested by the authors of the article that cycling may prove to be a good form of exercise for patients with advanced Parkinsonian symptoms. Hopefully, it may result in the type of improvements noted by Dr. Alberts.


2 thoughts on “Can’t Walk? Get on Yer Bike…

  1. The brain is such a strange thing. I once worked with a journeyman electrician who had Parkinson’s. He had severe tremors until the moment he approached a live wire. The higher the voltage, the calmer his movement. He couldn’t complete simple tasks such as tightening a bolt, but he was flawless when it came to splicing in a 480 volt line. Any ordinary person (me) would shake from pure nervousness in such a deadly situation. One slip and anyone in the vicinity could be dead, but without fail, his tremors faded away each time. It was as if a different area of his mind was taking over.

  2. That’s a great story, Listener. Thanks for sharing it. I think there is something in that ‘different area of his mind’ idea – time and time again, I come across the ‘different modes’ idea. It has cropped up with reference to running, to cycling (as seen here) and to art. Apparently, people with Parkinson’s quite often learn new or alternative ways of doing things – quite ordinary things, such as walking – by tapping into a different mode.

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