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Pedaling to fight Parkinson's (and make ice cream)

  • 31 July, 2010
  • Michael Morain

First, the fun part: Someone with a bright idea rigged up a stationary bike to a crank homemade ice cream.

Now, the important part: A pair of spokespeople for, a website designed to combat Parkinson’s disease, set up the ice-cream bike at several stops along the RAGBRAI route this week to raise awareness about their cause.

As the story goes, Dr. Jay Alberts of the Cleveland Clinic was riding a tandem bike with a Parkinson’s patient during RAGBRAI a few years ago when he discovered that forced exercise reduced the patient’s tremors. (“Forced exercise” in this case means physical activity that is conducted longer and harder than what a person would be able to do on his or her own.) Further research funded in part by Bruce Layne of confirmed Alberts’ initial discovery

Now, the folks at BikeLayne want to help their website become what they call “the Huffington Post of Parkinson’s” — that is, an open forum for ideas that can help collectively find better treatments and, one day, a cure.

Here’s BikeLayne’s Claire Bernard with the ice-cream bike near the Port of Dubuque:

She had to warn riders who took a turn pedal-churning not to pedal too quickly or they’d end up with butter instead of ice cream.

— Michael Morain


  1. Kathy

    Might anyone know were one could find some T-Shirts like “riding for parkinson’s disease” or pedaling for PD or anything of that nature? I looked online but haven’t found a good website for anything like that yet. Thanks

  2. Ginny Hridel


  3. Claire

    Hi Kathy (and everyone else),

    You can also get t-shirts through

    Just send us an email at: and let us know what you are looking for and we will get it out to you.



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