“When you have a disability, knowing you are not defined by it is the sweetest feeling.” – Anne Strike
A few months ago, I wrote a post on Selma Blair. She was recently diagnosed with MS and bravely came out and talked about it in the middle of a relapse. I was so inspired by her that I started following her on social media avenues. I started to see her getting around on a strange looking walking bike. I was quite intrigued by it and started to do some research into it.
I have lived with MS for the past 20 years, and like so many others who live with the disease, my mobility has definitely took a hit over time. I started off after 12 years, to need to use a cane occasionally for long distances. Then I began to need to use the cane all the time. Then came a time when I needed to purchase a scooter for long distances so that I could get around safely. This last year, I have had to go out and purchase a walker. That was a really hard day. My hips were really out of alignment from using the cane to move. I also didn’t want to lose the ability to walk by becoming too reliant on my scooter. My legs had already lost a lot of muscle and I wanted to keep moving so I went out and got a scooter at the age of 43. Nothing said old to me like using a walker to go get groceries or to go for a walk. Although I acknowledge that I am now able to move faster and safer with the walker, I also feel like my disability and illness are right out there in the open for everyone to see. That is why I was so interested in looking into this bright yellow bike that I saw Selma moving around on.
I had a bit of a hard time finding out where to look into them, I could not find them anywhere in Canada. There is a shortage of them right now as all of the notariety Selma has brought to the product is good, but they are also not as easy to get right now. It was originally created by a lady named Barbara Alink in the Netherlands. She started out to create the device after her mother refused to use a walker. She thought she could make something better. And she sure did. It is amazing to me to watch videos of people using their walker, cane and then the bike. They look so much happier, and less disabled moving around the world. It is basically a tricycle with two wheels in the front and one in the back that has a seat that pivots your hips so they work more efficiently. After looking online for awhile, I was sold and knew I wanted to try one and maybe purchase one.
That is the downside. I looked into pricing for them and realized it would not be an option financially for many people living on a limited income due to illness. The cost of one in Canada is $2480, which makes it unattainable for a lot of people. They are however offering some options within Canada to make it an easier pill to swallow. They have a rent-to-own offer where you would pay $1000 down payment to use it for the first four months. After that, you could decide to keep it, and pay the remaining $1480 in equal payments over up to 20 months, or you could return it. Another option is to start a Crowdfund account through the company. People can donate money to support you in your quest to try to access one of these devices. At least there are some options.
My hope is that with time, they might come down in price as they become more common. I am so excited about a device for mobility that focuses on helping me move myself and use my own body instead of traditional devices that accent the fact that there is something “wrong” with me.
The following link is to a video that shows how the Alinker works. Alinker Bike and thank you Selma Blair for making me aware of this device.