The debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) have been hidden inside a bike in a new campaign launched today by Grey Melbourne.
The frame has been buckled and the wheels deliberately bent, teeth have been sheared off the gears and ball bearings tucked inside thin handlebar tape making this bike considerably difficult, erratic and uncomfortable to ride. A slightly twisted fork and the constant whirring sound from the gear cassette also feature on the bike built to aid awareness of MS and the upcoming MS Melbourne Cycle.
The bike’s design was led by Paralympian gold medalist, Carol Cooke AM. Cooke, diagnosed with MS in 1998, led a team including neurologists, physiotherapists, bike mechanics and people living with MS.
Cooke said: “Cycling is a precision sport. We’ve taken everything you’d look for in a good bicycle and done the opposite. We wanted to know how close we could get to recreating the symptoms. I certainly wouldn’t want to ride this bike.”
Cooke has thrown down the challenge to her elite cycling colleagues to ride the bike in next year’s MS Cycle event in Melbourne on March 6.
Closely involved in the project also is neurologist and MS specialist, Marion Simpson. “I’m very interested in what this bike can do for treatment and education. I was encouraged to focus on the potential unpredictability of the bike. MS symptoms vary for a variety of reasons and we wanted to make sure the bike was erratic and uncomfortable. I want it to get us closer to understanding MS and MS patients.”
Jan Staunton, group manager, marketing and communications of MS, said: “This time around we asked Grey to help us build awareness of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and our MS Cycle event. They landed on an idea that allows people to experience MS for themselves and helps us talk about our major fundraising event in a new way. This is an awareness campaign that will go on to help education and treatment. It will translate financially into support for people living with multiple sclerosis and those helping with treatment.”
Michael Knox, chief creative officer and managing partner of Grey Group Australia, said: “This bike is a nasty piece of work. It totally sucks. We’re looking forward to seeing just how much money it can raise, how much pain it can inflict and how much closer it can get us to better understanding and treating multiple sclerosis.”