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Exercise program at the CPA gym

18 May

here’s a video from last year regarding the exercise program at the CPA Jim here in Calgary. I appear in the video along with several other people. The program is still ongoing, and I go there twice a week. Beats sitting around watching TV!


Killin’ It!

5 May

Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to increase the duration at which I work at a high level of intensity on my FES bike. Gradually I have gone from working three minutes  at a time at the highest possible resistance  [ torque ] of 20.75 Nm to eight minutes at a time, with multiple repeats over the course of an hour or even longer. As a result, the amount of work I am doing is increasing. And with it, the number of calories that I’m burning in each workout session.Apparently, I am now burning as much as 700 cal per hour. But the main point is to try to do enough work to actually increase my level of fitness. One way to measure this is to calculate the number of MET-minutes* of work per week. The chart below documents my progress over the 1 1/2 years since I started using my FES bike. Since some sources suggest we need to be doing at least 500 to 1000 MET-minutes per week of exercise in order to get a health benefit, it seems that I wasn’t meeting the minimum during the entire first year. However, since then my progress has been steadily uphill, and in the last month I have really taken off. In the last week of April, I did about 2200 MET-minutes of work, more than double what I need to do to maintain a level of fitness,  and the highest since I started riding my FES bike. It will be interesting to see where I get to in the next weeks or months.   MET--minutes

*MET-Minutes and Health Benefits

A key finding of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report is that the health benefits of physical activity depend mainly on total weekly energy expenditure due to physical activity. In scientific terms, this range is 500 to 1,000 MET-minutes per week. A range is necessary because the amount of physical activity necessary to produce health benefits cannot yet be identified with a high degree of precision; this amount varies somewhat by the health benefit. For example, activity of 500 MET-minutes a week results in a substantial reduction in the risk of premature death, but activity of more than 500 MET-minutes a week is necessary to achieve a substantial reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

Kicking it

28 Sep


some of you may have seen previous video clips I have posted of me riding my FES bike. It’s hard to tell whether the machine is doing the work, or whether it is my legs that are pushing the pedals. In the attached video clip in this post, I demonstrate the power of functional electrical stimulation to move my legs. when I run a current of just over 40 milliamps through the electrode pads on my quadriceps, my leg raises and straightens fairly convincingly. When my legs are on the pedals during a work out, I am stimulating with 125 milliamps, so the kicking motion is much stronger and more powerful than what you see in the above video clip. Of course, while pedaling I also have electrodes on my hamstrings, so my legs are both pushing and pulling with each revolution. This is how I get good exercise!



3 May


There was a really good turnout for the Bike to Work Day. Early morning drizzle gave way to bright sunshine, just in time for the ride in to work. I enjoyed the pancake breakfast, and meeting fellow members of my tribe. From left to right : Richard Zach, Bike Calgary; Kathryn Winkler from Sustainable Alberta, myself, City of Calgary Cycling coordinator Tom Thivener, Bike Calgary director Kimberly Nelson.

Bike polo 2013 kick off game

20 Apr

Three days before this picture was taken, the field was still covered in snow. And likely within an hour after the picture was taken, the field will be covered again in snow! The wind was howling out of the north, and it was sleeting sideways, but nothing could stop us from: starting out the bike polo season. The boys body in for games before the weather deteriprated too much to continue.



First real hand cycling session

25 Jan

I had my first real hand cycling session last evening. I rode for an hour, and went 2.3 kilometers. I am happy to have the assistance of a Canadian cycle team coach. If all goes well, I will be doing this two evenings a week.


hand cycling at last

7 Dec

Hand cycling at last, at the Olympic Oval, with Steven Burke, the Canadian Paralympic coach. This was my first day making any real progress with the bike, thanks to specialized quad grips. On the other bike beside me is Patti Gustek, also a c4 C 5 quad., and likely even keener than I am.


FES bike

16 Sep

In this video, I am riding the FES bike. Functional electrical stimulation to my quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus muscles allows me to be pushing the pedals, ever so weakly at the moment, but it’s a start!

None of this would be possible without the enormous generosity of my friends. I am deeply indebted to you!


Berkel Bike

29 Aug

Customers Experience of the 3 BerkelBike Models (by BerkelBikeEnglish)

 my FES  bike is stationary, but being able to move around on a bike path is appealing.

Crow Bomb

8 Jun

Calgary’s not cool enough to have a Zoo Bomb like Portland, Oregon does. But we’ve got a big hill, and a high-speed bridge over a river, so that’s all the raw materials we need to make our own ride: the Crow Bomb over the Bow River on Crowchild Trail.

At rush hour this roadway is virtually a parking lot, and rather benign to ride. But at mid-day, as in the video below, the traffic is moving at 60, 70 km/h or more, and it’s a little more… engaging to ride it then.  Check it out for yourself some time – just make sure you’re on your game.