Hi! I wanted to share something that was sent to me yesterday, just in case you missed it in my posts on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a very short video (about two minutes), a campaign by Grey Australia that offers, I think, a great visualization of what having MS is like.
I love stuff like this. I really enjoyed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge movement (when executed correctly and with the right intentions). It was a great learning experience for those in the right mindset to see what it might be like to feel suffocated, smothered, and rendered immobile for a split second (keeping in mind that those living with ALS feel this and more for the remainder of their lives).
This Bike Has MS, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, only scratches the surface. I do wish they’d have shown people actually attempting to ride this bike, perhaps in a timed race with people on normal, unaltered bikes. I say a timed race so that expectations and the end goal are consistent for all participants.
A man in this video says, verbatim, that he wouldn’t want to ride this bike long distance (and who would?), but people with MS (and other similar afflictions) don’t have the option of jumping off when it gets to be too overwhelming. The ride doesn’t end at the race’s finish line. You just start a new race. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The focus in this video was primarily on some of the physical aspects of MS, but nothing was said of the mental and emotional toll that riding this bike would take. Can you imagine how you might feel riding this bike, a bike that looks just like the others–completely normal and rideable, and then realizing how much more energy is expelled to do the same thing as anyone else? For the most part, anyone on a normal and unaltered bike would almost effortlessly coast past you while you put everything you have into maintaining the bike’s balance, speed, and function. You’d grow discouraged, maybe even resentful of the other riders. By the time you make it to the finish line, if at all, your racemates are heading out for a celebratory drink. But you, no, you are too fatigued. Your comrades comment on your absence the last couple times they’ve gone out to celebrate. They’re kind and you know they’ll want to involve you again next time, but at some point, you fear the invitations will become less frequent and eventually stop.
Despite these critiques, as I said above, I do think this video is enlightening and a very helpful tool to bring awareness and understanding to this disease. I hope you feel the same!
For anyone who is an avid rider and is down for the cause, check out BIKE MS.
Have a good weekend, everyone! 🙂
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