CYCLING WITH YOUR OWN MUSCLES, DESPITE A CONDITION

Complete Spinal Cord Injury

WHAT CAN A BERKELBIKE OFFER to people with a SCI?

A complete SCI is caused by damage to the nerves in the spinal cord.  If the nerves are completely damaged they are unable to recover or regain their function and the SCI is said to be a complete one. People with a complete SCI experience a loss of sensitivity and function in parts of their body. The level of the SCI determines which parts of the body are affected and what type of problems the person experiences. We have designed the BerkelBike to help people with a complete SCI train their body keeping in mind their needs and requirements.

THE BENEFITS OF A BERKELBIKE
  • Activates paralyzed muscles
  • Easy to transport
  • Apt to use both indoors and outdoors (up to a C5)
  • Uses combined arm and leg movement to power the bike
  • Available with a fixed frame
  • Attachable to a wheelchair
THE ADDED VALUE OF A BERKELBIKE
  • Reduces the frequency of spasms
  • Increases muscle mass and flexibility
  • Improves bowel movement and blood flow
  • Independent training as it doesn’t require a physical therapist
  • More effective fitness and strength training than a normal handbike
  • Improved mood due to a high release of endorphins
JOHNNY BEER TIMMS – COMPLETE SCI – C5/6

”In 2011, I had a trampoline accident after a failed backward somersault. The result was a complete transverse lesion, so I could no longer move my arms and legs. After leaving the hospital, I could move parts of my arms a little more. My hands do not work properly anymore and this causes me many problems.

My interest in training my muscles through electrical stimulation led me to the BerkelBike. It is an amazing bike that allows me to cycle again, using the muscles both in my arms and legs. The electrical stimulation allows my paralyzed muscles to work. I can’t move my legs, this is true, but this technology keeps me fit. I have even built up new muscle tissue! Personally, I believe that staying fit is extremely important for patients with a spinal cord injury.”

Discover more stories from BerkelBike-users
Mark Durrant – Flaccid Spinal Cord Injury (T11/12)
James McKune – Complete Spinal Cord Injury (T6)
HOW DOES the BERKELBIKE work?

The BerkelBike combines arm and leg movement in such a way that the arms can support the legs. Depending on the level of SCI, this may be sufficient support or more power is needed to bike. For those who require more support, we developed a method to electrically stimulate the nerves of the legs.

Using functional electrical stimulation, the leg muscles are activated to perform a pedaling movement. The person will succeed at cycling even if their legs are not capable to move by themselves. In the case of a very low lesion, resulting in a flaccid paralysis, cycling will not be possible, however, we offer a possibility to stimulate the leg muscles and to still get health benefits.

RICHARD WILSON USES THE BERKELBIKE CONNECT

Richard uses the BerkelBike Connect, which can be connected to his wheelchair. He also uses the Docking Station VR, which allows him to bike his favorite route, even if the weather doesn’t allow it. This way he can keep monitoring his improvements throughout the year. Richard always uses the FES technology, both indoors and outdoors, as it allows him to cycle using his arms and legs in combination. He has made so much progress that he is now able to cycle using only his legs. Thanks to the BerkelBike Connect, Richard was able to build up muscle mass in his legs and become significantly stronger in his lower body.

Discover more stories from BerkelBike-users
WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL ELECTRICAL STIMULATION?

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is an innovation in muscle stimulation; using FES technology we can induce movement into muscles that are completely paralyzed. When combined with the BerkelBike, it offers users the possibility to bike using their legs, in spite of their injury.

Most people who suffer from a spastic paralysis use the BerkelBike FES box. For people with a flaccid paralysis, the RISE stimulator can be used instead. The RISE stimulator cannot be used in combination with the BerkelBike, but it can still trigger tension of the muscles. Even though cycling is not possible, the health benefits remain and include building muscle mass, optimizing blood flow, and improving the skin condition.

Health benefits of the berkelbike

The BerkelBike has been proven to be successful in supporting the rehabilitation process after a spinal cord injury. Besides rehabilitation, it offers a range of other benefits as well. For example, the BerkelBike minimizes the risk of developing pressure ulcers and prevents the loss of muscle tissue. Additionally, physical activity does not only have positive effects on the physical body but also on the mental state. The release of endorphins after exercising results in a good and healthy feeling throughout the day.

The most important feature of the BerkelBike is that it stimulates both the arms and the legs toward movement. The leg muscles are the largest muscle group in the human body and should be trained in order to become physically fit. This combined movement is unique to the Berkelbike and ensures sufficient use of the legs to improve significantly.

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