Walking v Cycling

I wonder if anyone could explain this to me please… I have great difficulties walking, my legs just do not work correctly , my balance is terrible too. BUT… I can cycle my bike forever… I mentioned this to my neurologist, but he never answered and started waffling about something else, typically lol. Anyway, I would love it if anyone could explain why I can ride my bike much better than I can walk…

Hi spoogle hope your good , As your bike kind of has a mind of its own once your on and moving it will want to go straight

When you take a corner you will make it lean over and the gyroscopic effect off the wheels turning will help it come up and go straight again

Also your feet don’t come off the pedals so you can’t trip or stumble so you no your not going to fall or bump into things

And it’s good exercise enjoy g

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I noticed this difference a few years ago, but it was pointed out to me that most people can cycle further than they can walk.

Probably depends on the muscle groups affected too.

Thx for the replies guys. Yes that makes sense billy thank you :slight_smile:

I understand your query - I can run better than I can walk - and cycling is fine. I asked a doctor who suggested that we can often control movement better when our limbs are under strain, than when they are more relaxed. At least I think that’s what he said - it’s still a bit of a mystery!

Just grateful to still be able to do these things

Best wishes

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My right calf muscles have spasticity which causes drop foot and balance issues- hence walking issues. On my bike I am good maybe because the calves dont really come into action when riding a bike.

Moyna x

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I have heard similar things with regard to those who ski and snowboard.

ultimately, i reconcile these apparent contradictions by considering that things like walking and moving about one’s living space are taken for granted; they are naturally acquired, used infinitely more often and for longer, and thus come under greater scrutiny, with any apparent deviation from the expected standard being micro-analysed.

other ‘optional’ and learned skills such as cycling, skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed less frequently, have lower expectations of not losing balance and thus are given less critical analysis when things consequent in a tumble.

in addition, the monster that is MS tends to attack only some parts of the brain. it could be that whilst the myriad bits of white matter involved in taking a stroll are frayed by our condition, those fewer ‘sliding centres’ get away unscathed and thus can continue as per usual.

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walking ok, running ok (not very fast, but possible), cycling, my favourite form of transport! however can I think/ make sense/ judge any situation? NO!

I often wondered the same thing - I loved using my bike to go everywhere I couldn’t walk. The thing that amazed me most was that walking triggered my bowel incontinence but cycling was fine - you can imagine what a godsend it was! And I loved the strange looks I’d get from people as I got off my bike and unfolded my walking stick - or walking around a shop in day-glo cycling gear whilst using a stick.

However, as my MS has progressed I now don’t have the thigh strength to cycle and boy do I miss it.

So my advice - don’t think about it too much - enjoy the wind in your hair and the flies in your teeth while you still can!

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In terms of muscle groups and mobility, it does seem fairly common for MS to go for the bits that you use to lift up the foot up, before it goes for the bits that allow you to push the foot down (on a pedal, for instance). Or so it seems to me.

But maybe it is more to do with the the lifting up being a much more complex manoeuvre than pushing down, and so the simple action is preserved when the complicated one has gone to pot. A bit like writing and typing - I can hardly sign my name legibly now, but my typing speed/accuracy, while impaired, still works comparatively OK. Typing requires far less motor control than typing.

Who knows? Another of MS’s mysteries!


Me too!

I cycle lots while I still can - for practical reasons, to keep as fit as possible and cos I enjoy it. I’m nerd enough to record the distances so I know that I did over 3,000km last year!

Walking is hard work and I am regularly overtaken by speedy pensioners.

I have thought about this lots and I think that the reasons why cycling is easier (at least for me) are:

  • Mainly uses muscles above the knee.You can manage without being able to do ankle movements
  • Pedalling motion evens out having different strengths in your legs unlike walking.

Re balance - this isn’t a problem except for the one time I was on the back of a tandem and shut my eyes when going uphill - we both nearly came off!

Hi, bit late to this post but I was wondering how you stop your foot coming off the pedal if you have drop foot? I’d really like to get back into cycling but I struggle to keep my right foot on the pedal and simply strapping it on, as I’ve done in the past, feels a bit dangerous because I won’t be able to put it down if I fall. Any ideas gratefully received!

Becky x

Would toe-clips be helpful (…like ‘pro-cyclists’ have on their racing cycles, to keep feet on pedals - but they still allow you to completely remove the foot from the pedal if you need to) ?


Hi Dom

I did try toeclips a while ago but found them hard to stay in and then, of course, get out of! I’ve bought myself some Shimano Click 'R pedals and shoes to go with them and tried them out this morning. What a revelation! The clips are very light so hold your foot securely and in the right position but a small move outwards with the ankle disconnects them. It’s going to take time to get used to having my foot where it’s supposed to be but I’m really looking forward to being able to do some proper exercise again!


Becky x

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I use top clips and find them very helpful.

Seen this post before, but never commented, but yes I used to take kids to school on bike when I could no longer walk, but then I got to the stage when I couldn’t get on and off bike. Then got mobility scooter-one lady did ask “didn’t i see you on a bike last week?” Had to explain could cycle but not walk. Had to give my bike away about 4 years ago when I realised I never would be able to get on/off again…sad but scooter still going…keep cyclingx

This problem is very common in old aged people.This is because of the weakness which they develop very fast.So i would suggest you to do some exercises like yoga. Triathlon Expo can also clear you doubts. So you may visit that site once for your satisfaction. http://nytriexpo.com/

The one thing that few people ever consider, is that you get a huge amount of “balance” information through the eyes.
When moving more quickly, there is just more information coming in to be used, so the balance is probably better.
When Transverse Myelitis struck me, I was much steadier walking briskly than moving slowly.
I mentioned this to the neuro I saw privately, and got a response of “Hmmm, never thought of that”, and yet we get more information through the eyes than through any other sense.


I have just stumbled across this thread…

I write a blog pretty much dedicated to this subject (!): https://cyclingwithms.wordpress.com/

at times, with my MS, I can barely walk, and struggle on uneven ground… but last year I cycled over 12,000 miles. It makes no sense that my vision-problems often prevent me from working (at my computer-based desk-job), but I can navigate my way around the roads and lanes of SW England on my bike…