Bicycle is Designed to Mimic the Symptoms of MS

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

Share this article:

Share article via email
obesity risk in pediatric MS

Want to know what living with MS feels like? Take a ride on this bike.

Those of us who have MS know that our disease has lots of symptoms. There are the legs that feel like they have 20-pound weights on them … balance that can have you lunging for the grab bar in the shower .. feet that trip on the smallest crack. Some of us have some of these symptoms, some of us have others.  Sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not. MS can be hard to explain to someone who’s healthy, and that’s the point of the MS bike.

This bike has been built to mimic the symptoms of MS. Its gears don’t work the way they should, the frame is unsteady and it takes extra effort to go anywhere. In other words, it’s a lot like me, or you.

See for yourself:

The MS bike is the idea of Carole Cooke. Cooke is a paralympic cycling gold medalist who was diagnosed with MS back in the ’90s. Cooke worked with a team of neurologists, physical therapists, mechanics and MS patients to design a bike that would imitate the shaky, dragging, unsteady feeling that everyone with MS knows. “You’ll have to be constantly fighting the bike to stay straight,” says Thom Pravda, the mechanic who built the MS bike. “Using particularly heavy parts, it’s going to be pretty fatiguing.”

And it is. Even champion cyclists have a tough go of it when they take it for a ride.

Want to see more? Check out the owner’s manual or the bike’s web site:

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Kimberly avatar


Maybe the only people who NEED to ride this, are the disability claims decision makers.

Kent avatar


I love this, I was and continue to be a distance cyclist before and after my MS diagnosis in 2004. However, my balance issues caused my 2-wheel bike to ride a lot like this one. After too many "unplanned dismounts", a.k.a. "crashes", I bolted my bike on a stationary trainer and spent the next few years riding in my basement, just to keep my legs strong. I eventually found a stable 3-wheel cycle that let me get back out on the road again, it's so much fun!

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Kent,

I've been thinking about trying a 3 wheeler. What kind do you have?


Daniel R Varady avatar

Daniel R Varady

i just got one last spring. The BEST THING I DID TO GET MOVING ON WHEELS POWERED BY ME!!!!

Noel Mehlo avatar

Noel Mehlo

This is brilliant. I was diagnoses with RRMS in 2005. I used to be an athlete and cyclist. This totally describes the changes I underwent early on. I so miss cycling and hope that your work helps others understand and if they have MS to dig in and overcome. I am debilitated enough now I no longer feel safe on the road, but man do I miss it. Good work!

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Noel,

Thanks for your kind comments. I was never much of a cyclist but I miss playing tennis. These days I try to get on a stationary bike in the gym. Have you ever thought about getting one of those exercise bikes with video that simulates a ride through wherever? Or, a tricycle for the road?



Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here