Bent, warped bike puts riders in MS seat – The London Free Press

From afar, it looks like a normal bicycle. But as soon as you go for a ride, you’ll notice some big differences.

The bike frame is misaligned. The tires and rims are warped. The handlebars are raised higher so it is awkward to grab the brakes.

These are just a few of the changes made to the bike to raise awareness about what it’s like to live with multiple sclerosis (MS).

“This Bike with MS” demonstrates some of the invisible struggles often experienced by people living with MS, like loss of balance, fatigue, pain and numbness.

The bike will be available to test ride at Western University on Saturday as a part of the PwC MS Bike tour from Grand Bend to London.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. It is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults in Canada.

Symptoms vary and can change over time. An estimated one in 385 Canadians lives with the condition.

This is the first time the bike has been in London, said Lori Anne McNulty, development director with the MS Society of Canada.

Gus Kailis, ambassador for the MS Bike Grand Bend To London fundraising ride, shows off The Bike With Multiple Sclerosis in London on Thursday. The bike is modified to give riders a sense of what it’s like to live with MS. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

“It’s going to be a nice addition for people to get a feel for what it feels like to live with MS because some of it is invisible, so you don’t really know how or what it feels like,” she said.

Gus Kailis was diagnosed with MS in April 2009. He said people generally don’t understand that he is sick because he “looks fine.”

“People just don’t get it and you don’t necessarily want to wear a sign around your neck,” said Kailis, who is an MS ambassador. “It’s hard for people to recognize.”

Kailis has cycled in the Grand Bend to London tour for eight years and will participate again this weekend. He said it’s interesting the reactions to riding the bike with MS.

“It’s a great depiction of what it’s like for some people with MS,” he said.

Ian McCann, who also has MS, tried riding the adapted bicycle.

“It’s super uncomfortable,” McCann said. “The chain was skipping a bunch and when you turn, it’s not aligned at all.”

Over 1450 cyclists will travel from Grand Bend to London and back starting on Saturday to raise money for MS research. For more information about the PwC MS Bike tour, visit

Several features on “This Bike with MS”:
Misaligned bike frame
Bent tires and rims
Teeth sheered off the gears
A hard, uncomfortable BMX seat
Raised handlebars to make reaching the brakes uncomfortable
Ball-bearings under the handlebars to mimic a pins-and-needles feeling
Off-set chain to make difficult gear shifts
Different pedals to make it unsymmetrical
PwC MS Bike – Grand Bend to London
Participants will leave Grand Bend on Saturday morning and arrive at Western University later that day. On Sunday, they will bike back to Grand Bend.
“This Bike with MS” will be stationed at the finish line at Western University on Saturday afternoon for people to test ride.