I have to thank Margaret from my French class for the central construct of this week’s blog. Margaret had heard ‘The Why Factor’, a smashing series of 10 minute programmes on Radio 4 which simply ask ‘why?’ and in this particular episode they asked ‘why cycling?’. The programme was, like one of my blogs I like to think, pretty discursive, moving from the history of the bike, to bike commuting and bike messengers in India, and so on to a trans-Iowa bike ride by a woman suffering PD: not a capable cyclist, couldn’t hold a pen, a tremor in her right arm.

She was aiming to cycle across Iowa with her husband on a tandem. But she fell off when her husband forgot she was on the back and continued falling off. So Dr Jay Alberts, a very keen cyclist and neuro-scientist, offered to ride the tandem front half with the PD woman on the back. At 80-90 RPM.

And the woman kept up and stayed on, and is now able to pedal at a far higher rate. On a bike it was as if she had no more Bloodyparkinsons.

A subsequent trial of 10 sufferers indicates that ‘forced exercise’ may improve mobility, get arms swinging, head rotating and eyes looking up rather than down; new skills can be learned, and old ones relearned. The trial has been increased to 100 respondents. Watch this space.

One hypothesis is that forced exercise helps the body build proteins that send information back to the brain, helping the patient acquire new skills and retain or relearn old skills.

So now I’m looking for a tandem on e-bay….. and the dog’s keen too.


Meanwhile down the pub we have an annual lads’ trip to Brussels or Paris, which in these times of Brexit was transferred to Brighton with the theme of Craft Beer pubs in mind. Inter alia, we visited the Craft Beer Co, The Evening Star, the Trafalgar and more whose names and beers are lost to me!

The Brighton i360 needle was hard to miss as they were conducting trial runs before opening for the tourists. Impressive.

Discussion ranged over many topics eg the Premier League, the small claims court, fish and chips, mushy peas, Brexit options. Firm conclusions were drawn but for the life of me I can’t remember any!

And by the way, did you you hear about the bloke who went in the chip shop and asked for cod and chips twice? The bloke behind the counter replied: ‘don’t worry, I heard you the first time’.

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