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Nicky Blumfield's story
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Nicky Blumfield's story
When Newdigate resident Nicky Blumfield was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, she thought she would have to give up exercise for good. Now she's getting back on track with the help of an electric bike!
Six years after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder, Nicky had resigned herself to a life of sitting on the sidelines while her friends enjoyed an active lifestyle. However, after ten minutes on an electric bike she realised she "had her life back".
“l felt trapped by my body,” says Nicky Blumfield, a graphic designer based in Dorking. “I have to keep my pulse about 140 beats per minute. Above that, I can become ill, which means months enduring the side effects of steroid medication.
“My rheumatologist labels it an 'atypical auto-immune disorder’. The closest named condition is lupus or SLE – systemic lupus erythematosus. It leaves me vulnerable to pericarditis (excess fluid around the heart, causing heart failure).”
Nicky’s condition means her immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. As soon as her heart rate is raised, her immune system becomes even more overactive, meaning she has to avoid working out to prevent her heart rate spiking.
“My partner does a lot of mountain biking but I’d never been able to join in,” recalls Nicky. “It was infuriating getting more and more unfit, and knowing my partner and friends were out having a blast on their mountain bikes.”
But in November 2013, everything changed. Nicky joined her partner at an electric bike demo-ride in Holmbury St. Mary organised by e-bike specialists Cycling Made Easy.
“It was just amazing. After 10 minutes’ riding uphill, I was barely out of breath. I could chat with another rider and the dreaded pulse rate was OK! When we stopped for the others to catch up with me I had a bit of a ‘moment’ as the implications began to sink in: no more feeling left out and miserable. Within a week, I’d bought a very cool Haibike Xduro FS electric mountain bike. It looks like a ‘proper’ mountain bike with full suspension: the works. I control over how much help I get from the motor, so as I get fitter and fitter, I can reduce the motor assistance.”
Ray Wookey, director of Coulsdon-based Cycling Made Easy, was also at the demo-ride.
“Nicky demonstrates the magic of electric bikes” says Ray. “The bike gives you as much or as little help as you need. It's a psychological help as much as a physical - to know you can cycle without over-doing it motivates you to keep going. E-bikes get people cycling who would otherwise never dream of doing so. ”
“Auto-immune disorders like lupus can cause fatigue and joint pain so physical activity can be difficult and tiring, but staying active is integral to overall health and well-being” explains founder of the Hibbs Lupus Trust John Hibbs.
"Nicky has used the e-bike to take charge of her fitness and we're encouraging others to do the same.”
World Lupus Day is 10th May 2014. Sign up today to walk for Lupus hibbslupustrust.org
To find out more about Nicky's Haibike or electric bikes in general, head to cyclingmadeeasy.co.uk cyclingmadeeasy.co.uk