A special mention for a charity ride being undertaken by an individual on today’s blog. The ride by Daniel Eley for Spinal Research is not like any normal bike ride as it is being completed via a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bicycle.
Daniel, who is 33, unfortunately broke his neck while diving into a shallow river in Columbia (where he was teaching) on New Year’s Day 2010 and is now confined to a wheelchair as result of his spinal injuries.
Despite his injuries, Daniel was determined to give something back for the care he received back in the UK at the specialist Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire and has embarked on a 550 mile virtual ride using the Functional Electrical Stimulation bicycle (Daniel specifically uses a RehaMove FES bike).
A FES bicycle electronically stimulates the major muscle groups in his legs to create a cycling motion. FES Cycling helps develop improved cardiovascular fitness and other health benefits for people who have a spinal cord injury, had a stroke or suffer with Multiple Sclerosis.
Daniel told the BBC that electro-pads on his quadriceps, gluteus muscles and hamstrings stimulated the muscles in a sequence which in turn created a cycling motion.
“At the beginning I was barely able to cycle for 20 minutes without my legs becoming tired, against resistance level two.
“Now eight weeks later, with the same level of stimulation, I am able to cycle for 45 minutes against resistance level three, at a higher speed, and then after a five-minute break continue for another 45 minutes.”
The 550 mile distance is the distance from the Spinal Research headquarters near Guildford to The Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injury Centre in Glasgow. Daniel is undertaking the virtual ride at the Spinal Research centre in Guildford.
Daniel hopes to raise £10,000 in his charity ride, and since beginning his virtual ride on January 9, he has covered 275 miles. He aims to complete the full ride by April. At the moment, Daniel typically rides about 7 miles, 3 to 4 times a week.
If you want to donate funds for Daniel’s ride, please donate at his Just-Giving page.