Hero photograph
Freerein kick bike
Photo by Ella Sanderson and Angus Lewry

Enabling exercise outdoors

Lesley Brook —

Students Ella Sanderson and Angus Lewry are a finalist in the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards 2021.

Multiple Sclerosis is a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system and causes many physical problems specific to the individual. There is no definite cause and there is no cure.

Our intention behind Freerein is to facilitate gentle exercise for people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We found in our research that many current assistive care products for people with a range of disabilities and injuries are often utilitarian, clinical and give little consideration to their lifestyle, environment and mental health. We found that this lack of consideration in these products may lead to embarrassment, resistance and even refusal of use from the user. As designers, we can do better.

It can be difficult for people living with MS to complete tasks or activities as easily as they may have done before diagnosis, particularly exercise. For someone living with MS, exercise has significantly shown to help prevent further exacerbations, build muscle strength and improve mental health, yet sensitivity to temperature changes and easily onset fatigue make exercising without intervention challenging. 

Working with Occupational Therapists and primary users, we designed the Freerein electric-assist kick-bike to generate the feeling of the wind through your hair whilst gently building up strength and improving your Hauora (wellbeing).

Features include:

  • Adjustable handlebars and tilt steering
  • Low lightweight frame
  • Multiple grip positions
  • Flexible pneumatic drop saddle
  • Electric assist motor with interface control
  • Two foot rest positions
  • Tool-less wheel removal for easy transport