“ Turning Back Clock on Chronic Diseases thru Triking”
I refer to Ian Sims of Greenspeed as my “Enabler”. He has been the key in crucially enabling me to turn back the clock on my chronic diseases.
My story in brief: “My Name is Peter James a 62 year old disabled man. I was diagnosed in Oct 1995 with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) an insidious incurable autoimmune disease affecting the central nerve system. This was the beginning of a rapid decline in mobility, and with associated health issues forced me to early retirement at age 54 in January 2006 from a role I enjoyed. I have secondary progressive MS and also T2 Diabetes and Osteoporosis. I had gradually become obese thru a sedentary life style thru increasing disability from the ravages of MS. Pre MS I was very active running every day, played basketball twice weekly and sail boarded etc.
By late 2007 I was using two crutches, and often a wheelchair to move around. Life had become very difficult for my family and me with my level of disability, frequent falls, frequent hospitalisation, inability to safely climb steps etc. All this impacted heavily on my family and primary care and much loved wife Kaye. I had often been told in rehabilitation sessions I must exercise more to try and keep myself out of a wheelchair fulltime, a likely outcome at that time.
I could not ride a bicycle due to my poor balance and very limited leg movement. I knew I had to find a way to exercise. I had seen recumbent tricycles in my travels before retirement. A web search found Greenspeed right here in my hometown of Melbourne. What a lucky breaks this turn out to be for me. After perusing Greenspeed’s website I sensed here might be a way for me to get outdoors and exercise again. Etched into my memory is the day in August 2007 I went to Greenspeed and met Ian Sims who immediately recognised my disabilities and condition. He showed me the Anura delta recumbent trike, put me on it fitting a Hase pedal and leg brace for my right leg which I drag and had no ankle movement in at that time. I can tell you the first short ride in the car park with Ian gave me a warm buzz of freedom and mobility I had lost over the recent years. I purchased my first recumbent tricycle from Ian and I still have my much loved Anura which carried me over 23,000 kilometre’s over ~4 ½ years, it is now in retirement. I still ride it occasionally for sentimental reasons and given the journey we have been on together is a great testament to the durability of Greenspeed product.
When I first took the Anura home I could barely ride out of the end of our short street up a small incline, a distance of around 500 metres. I doggedly persevered riding every morning. I could notice small gradual improvements which greatly encouraged me. Every few days I would go a little further. By late 2008 I decided with much apprehension to attempt a 40 kilometre charity ride for MS, below is a photo taken at the start point with a couple of good friends in support and myself on my two crutches then with the Anura in front of me.
Well I completed the ride raising $8,240 in the process and was the highest individual fund raiser for the event, a very satisfying and encouraging ride”.
Now fast forward to the present: “I have now ridden more than 42,000 kilometres over the past 6 years. I now use one walking stick and often don’t need this to walk short distances. Have sold the wheelchair! I can again mow our lawns and maintain our garden, have significant movement back in my right ankle, can climb stairs, swelling in my right leg all gone. Lost over 20 kilos, control T2 diabetes thru diet and exercise riding 18 kilometres plus every morning. With calcium supplements and exercise thru riding the osteoporosis is now improved to osteopenia and continuing to build bone mass lost thru past treatments for MS.
Riding recumbent trikes has given me back my life, big time. My wife and I now have a caravan and each year spend the winter months touring tropical northern Australia cycling everywhere once we setup camp. I could not have done these 6 years ago. My neurologist, cardiologist and MS rehabilitation team are all absolutely delighted with my improved health and mobility. I am the big winner here, when you have lost mobility and health to the stage I had and then turn this around, well sometimes I need to pinch myself to be sure I am not dreaming!
With my improved mobility and weight loss I can now get down onto and up from the lower tadpole type recumbent trikes. I am currently riding a fast and fun Greenspeed SLX while a new trike, an Aero 20 is being custom built for me by Ian and his team at Greenspeed.
Now a bit about Ian and his team many may not know, I have often been at their workshop here in suburban Melbourne and seen all types of trikes being modified to suit many people with disabilities in our community including returning soldiers injured in active duty missing limbs. I reckon this is just a fantastic aspect which I also have been a beneficiary of.
So now you know why I call Ian the “Enabler”. He and his team have enabled me and supported me in getting my life back!” The Greenspeed motto of “Get Out There” says it all for me.
If anyone reading this story would like more information about my journey and experience or any help I might be to them then please feel free to contact me either through Ian Sims at Greenspeed or at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org