This Bike has MS

MS, an not-for-profit organisation in ACT, NSW and Victoria, Australia, has launched “This Bike Has MS”, an integrated advertising campaign in which the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) are hidden inside a bike. Hosted online at thisbikehasms.com, the campaign features a specially designed bike. 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.

This Bike has Multiple Sclerosis

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.

This Bike has Multiple Sclerosis team

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.”

The MS Bike Manual is a written resource intended to accompany This Bike Has MS online content. It features a comprehensive exploration of the methods by which the bike was designed and constructed. Included is a detailed breakdown of the bike’s components, and explanations as to how each element has been calibrated to replicate the physical effects of multiple sclerosis.

This Bike has Multiple Sclerosis Manual

This wheel is weighed down by fatigue. Heavy materials used in the bike’s wheels add to the resistance the rider must endure to move the bike forward.

These gears battle spasticity. Broken teeth from this cog cause the bike’s gears to slip unpredictably, reducing the rider’s ability to control speed, direction and momentum.

This frame has no balance. A bend in the structure of this steel frame disrupts the bike’s equilibrium causing it to sway randomly from side to side when ridden at speed.

This seat is riddled with pain. Incorrectly designed for distance riding and adjusted to a level that causes discomfort, this saddle will become painful over time.

This fork is dizzy. A slight bend in the length of this fork, combined with un-trued wheels, will cause the bike to move erratically, removing the rider’s ability to maintain a steady line.

The handlebars are full of pins and needles. Ball bearings hidden beneath the tape of these handlebars accentuate vibrations through the rider’s upper body. This will lead to pins and needles that will progress to complete numbness.

Credits

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.

The This Bike Has MS campaign was developed at Grey Australia, Melbourne, and Grey Digital, Singapore, by chief creative officer/copywriter Michael Knox, copywriter Adam Grant, art director Joash Tham, digital executive creative director Junjek Low, digital project managers Evan Karas and Nicolas Brosse, PHP developer Bala Suruliraj, operations manager Wendy Ng, digital art director Sebastian Quek, planner Danish Chan, agency producer Katie Wellbelove, general manager Claudia McInerney, account manager Aaron Rocca, senior account manager Catherine McDonald, working with MS marketing specialist Tegan Berry.

Filming was shot by director Max Walter with director of photography Daniel Gallagher.

Sound was produced at Risk Sound by sound engineer Paul Baxter.

Editor was Chris Brown at The Trace House. Colourist was Fergus Hally. Photography is by Liane Hurvitz.