Massey gifted two Alinker bikes

Dr Lynette Hodges from Massey University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition.

One of the Alinker bikes donated to Massey University’s Manawatū
campus by inventor Barbara Alink.

Dutch designer, architect, humanitarian, and inventor of the Alinker bike Barbara Alink has donated two of the revolutionary bikes to Massey University.

The Alinker is a non-motorised three-wheeled walking-bike without pedals. It allows people to live an active life, despite existing or developing mobility challenges.

Ms Alink, who visited New Zealand last month, recently received a grant from the Li Ka Shing Foundation in Hong Kong, allowing her to fulfill her commitment to give away 900 Alinker bikes worldwide. While in New Zealand, she agreed to gift 40 to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand. She also donated 10 Alinker bikes to work in clinical settings, giving two bikes each to five organisations, including Massey’s School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition.

Dr Lynette Hodges, who lectures in Exercise and Sport Science, met Ms Alink during her tour of New Zealand. She says Ms Alink was impressed with the research possibilities around how the Alinker could be used to improve the mobility and cognitive function of clients working with Massey University’s multiple sclerosis group. William Hughes from Life Unlimited, delivered the bikes to Massey’s Manawatū campus on Monday.

Dr Hodges runs the exercise clinic on Massey’s Manawatū campus, where they treat patients with a number of different chronic conditions. “We are hoping the Alinker bikes will be used by individuals from the local multiple sclerosis society who attend our clinic, and also our spinal cord injury patients who are currently doing well with locomotive training. We will be looking to complete research investigating the effects of the Alinker bike on mobility, and cognitive function in individuals with multiple sclerosis, over the next 24 months.

Dr Hodges says the Alinker allows individuals to stay or become active and also allows for engagement at eye level which is something people with mobility issues can struggle with. “It also allows people to be active without necessarily going to the gym to work out. Around half the people who use wheel chairs can still use their legs in some way, however there is nothing that specifically keeps their muscles moving.

“If you train your muscles, and engage your muscles, you may be able to better mitigate the effects of your health condition. If you are going out into the community at the same time, you get the full benefits of exercise. Being social, training the muscles and staying active, is an important part of living with an illness or disability,” Dr Hodges says.

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