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Johnny Beer avatar
Johnny Beer

Cybathlon 2020 Race Bike Development

FES Cycling to accelerate SCI research for Tree of Hope because they will be managing any donations.

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raised of £5,000 target
  • Event: Cybathlon 2020

Tree of Hope

We offer hope to families to transform the lives of sick children

Charity Registration No. 1149254 In Scotland SC042611


Hi my name is Johnny Beer.

In Oct 2011 I had a trampoline accident where I broke my neck after attempting a backwards somersault. I became paralysed, lost the use of my hands and partially my arms too. The rest of my body was paralysed completely and I had no choice but to be confined to a wheelchair. I had to rethink my life and be under 24/7 care in order to survive.

7 years later, I am still in a similar situation. From the very beginning, my goal has been to recover from Spinal Cord Injury. I have worked very hard and failed over and over to get the full recovery I was looking for. I spent most my days exercising and researching on developments that could achieve what many think, is impossible.

2 months post injury I became fascinated with FES (functional electrical stimulation). Sticking electrodes all over my body became a normal thing; the closest I could get to preventing muscle atrophy. I was using an indoor FES bike as much as possible in the hospital. When I got out 9 months later I raised enough money from Aspire and Regain to upgrade to an FES tricycle, which incorporated Arm cycling and FES leg cycling. Cycling outdoors regularly kept me in reasonably good health.

I was eventually invited to compete in the World's First Bionic Games called the Cybathlon. Using just the legs I pedalled in the event with little idea of who I was up against. That day I became the fastest surface Electrode rider for 750m and gained a Silver medal racing for BerkelBike UK.

I continued to compete in lesser known events such as Tour De Vale in 2017 where I cycled 25km. It took me over 3 hours of continuous FES cycling with legs and arms.

After being invited to Lyon CyberBike in France I came back with a 1st Place in the 500m.

I signed up for Cybathlon 2020, but became worried that there were not enough improvements to the Berkelbike to win. All the other Cybathletes have carbon fiber bikes that are aerodynamic. I'm still riding a 20kg aluminum bike, without modifications there is no possible way to beat the trans-humans with implanted electrodes.

I took it on myself to search for a solution, I started doing research. Learnt about how bikes work and building a development team to improve both training and racing. Imperial college London bioengineering team agreed to help improve factors of the bike. I contacted local engineers to see how they could help. I've analysed the bike, know what needs to be done and have been in regular contact with Berkelbike CEO Rik Berkelmans in order to overcome complex problems.

Phase I of the project will cost £5000 by the time all the testing has been completed. I hope that there will be enough support to start the first part.

In Phase II, to make further changes I will need to find bigger sponsors. I also wish to not be reliant on others hard earned income. I have much compassion for those who go out of their way to help me. Not always do I understand why. I only know that I want to give back something.

I wish to develop FES cycling further as research suggests that electricity has the ability to reconnect nerves at particular frequencies. I will win Gold with your help and get the recognition to accelerate change in attempt to find a definitive solution by 2024.