FES / Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race
About the Team
A Dutch-English team is one of the favorites for the CYBATHLON 2020. For 20 years, the Dutch company Berkelbike has been building muscle-powered vehicles for people who have very limited control of their extremities. This long experience helped Johnny Beer on the Berkelbike at the CYBATHLON 2016 come in second. In 2020, the Dutch special bike manufacturer joined forces with London's Imperial College. Its experts optimize the vehicle, the interaction with the pilot and his preparation. An innovation that has been added since the last CYBATHLON is a self-learning controller that adapts the electrical stimulation to the rider and the support required at any moment. Victory is the goal, but for Johnny Beer and his teammates even more important is: "We want to help disabled people to live fit and healthy lives.
About the Pilot
At 16 Johnny Beer suffered a complete spinal cord injury after a failed backflip on the trampoline. This means that not only can he no longer move his legs, but his arms and hands are also severely restricted: "My hands no longer function properly, and this causes me many problems,” he states. While still in hospital he was able to try out FES for the first time on a static bike, later he found his way to Berkelbike, which since 2012 brings the joy of exercise and mobility into his life. “I love to cycle, I feel free and fantastic,” he enthuses, “and I have hardly any health problems, that's the most important thing.”
The Englishman is also successful: At the CYBATHLON 2016, he took second place in the bike race with electric muscle stimulation. This year he wants to take the top spot: "I estimate my chances of winning at around 80 percent. For me it is important to win because on the one hand it highlights the benefits of advances in technology and on the other hand it accelerates development through increased media coverage.”