Cycling with parkinson's

jagman547 Posts: 14
edited May 2011 in The bottom bracket
Hi, I have been a leisure cyclist for quite a number of years and thoughroughly enjoy it. I am now 64 and recently diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson's desease. Lately I have noticed I tend to wander a bit when out on my bike, which is unerving me a bit and I am lacking confidence in traffic. I don't want to give up cycling so would be grateful to hear if any other bloggers suffer and how they are coping. :(


  • Hi jagman,

    This might be a question that needs answering by someone with medical/specialist expertise. I thought that it was the case that sometimes with Parkinson's a person who was no longer capable of walking could ride perfectly well, much to the surprise of their doctors. Some kind of peculiarity with something to do with the automatic nervous system...but as I'm not an expert, this might be complete piffle or an entirely different medical condition....

    The best people I can think of to contact would be Wheels for Wellbeing. I've met some of them and they're good people, committed to improving cycling access for all people with so-called disabilities. Have a look here:

    Mission Statement:
    Wheels for Wellbeing is a charity which supports disabled people to cycle in London.

    Whatever impairment, long term health condition or disability you have, we can help with your cycle query. If you live locally, you could come to our cycling sessions.
    Although they're based in London, I know that they work with and coordinate with other parts of the country. Dropping them a line can't do any harm.
  • jagman547
    jagman547 Posts: 14
    Thank you for your comments, what I was hoping for was experiences from a fellow sufferer and cyclist and their own personal experiences in coping.
    I have all the 'official' medical bumf!
  • Have you considered moving to the dark side (MTB)? Might be a option.

    Best wishes on your situation
  • jagman547
    jagman547 Posts: 14
    mmmm! the dark side - resisted so far but not completely ruled out!!!
  • thelawnet
    thelawnet Posts: 719
    Have you tried the CTC forum?
  • natrix
    natrix Posts: 1,111
    Hi Jagman, one of my friends was diagnosed with Parkinsons about seven years ago. Initially her main cycling problem was lack of strength in her left hand, so I fitted a 'two in one' brake lever from SJS cycles so that she could use her right hand for both brakes. She stopped driving a car because of lack of confidence but really enjoyed her bike. More recently she has been running out of steam a bit and so she's now got an electrically assisted bike, which she finds really useful.
    ~~~~~~Sustrans - Join the Movement~~~~~~
  • jagman547
    jagman547 Posts: 14
    Thank you for your comments, one things for sure, I'm not giving up! My wife suggested an electric bike, perhaps in a few years I'll give it a go.
    Back to packing now, off on holiday tomorrow,

  • wests
    wests Posts: 1
    Hi, I recognise the problem! I was diagnosed with Parkinson's about 7 years ago. I’m forever drifting away from the kerb into the traffic. For me I think its a combination of Parkinson’s having affected by spatial awareness and also my posture with my left side being somewhat crouched down over /towards the handlebars. What’s your posture like? May be worth asking someone to ride behind you to let you know if you’re square or not.

    Unfortunately I’ve not discovered any magic solutions but I’ve found badminton (just knocking the shuttle around with friends) has greatly improved my spatial awareness and pilates my posture. I understand wii (spelling?) games such as tennis are also good for spatial awareness but that’s a bit beyond my technical prowess. If you’re not into pilates someone nagging from behind also helps! Whatever you do I think in time, now you’ve recognised the problem, if you keep cycling you’ll find your body will come up with its own coping strategy which hopefully will reduce the problem. I find at tricky junctions the need to concentrate hard on the traffic and turn simultaneously is likely to blow my balance. In these instances I stop, get off and walk across. This is a major blow to my pride, but better that than being squashed or stopping cycling altogether.

    I have both a normal bike and electric one. The electric one does help in that it stops me getting too tired on long or hilly rides. When I’m tired my posture is worse and so is my drift. The normal one does still get an airing, last Sunday I cycled 20miles down an old railway line on it and it felt great so don’t let anyone suggest giving up cycling!
  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    schweiz wrote:
    ... Of course, he added, he is not advocating that Parkinson’s patients hop on bikes and go out on busy roads. They need help in mounting a bike and can get into trouble if they have to stop at traffic lights. They need to ride in safe areas. He recommends that patients ride tricycles, or use stationary bikes or trainers — devices that turn road bikes into stationary ones. ...
    I'm no expert and don't have any form of personal experience of parkinsons, so just a suggestion: how about a recumbent trike?

    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • jagman547
    jagman547 Posts: 14
    Thanks for all your responses, particularly Wests, perhaps I can convince my wife to buy me a Wii.
    Oh, I fell of the other day, but only thing hurt was my pride, I'm not giving up.
  • kdogg
    kdogg Posts: 1
    Hi guys.
    K-Dogg here. I received diagnosis of Parkinson's disease recently in 2021 after a year of poor sleep, tiny writing, Buddhist monk gait and inability to be competitive racing gravel.
    Much better after meds.
    Trying to get back up to speed again. Still do intervals training program etc. but slow going. I now get dropped from racing buddys I used to stay with.
    I have an e-bike on order so I hope this will allow me to surf the pack thereby extending the fun staying with the pack.
    I feel fortunate my symptoms are still mild.
    Anybody else have advice for race training and/or e-bike mixing?