A Perfect Partnership – BORP Cycling and The Centre for Neuro Skills

Over the last three years, BORP Cycling and the Centre for Neuro Skills in Emeryville (CNS) have developed a great partnership serving both our missions. CNS is a residential rehabilitation program for people with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and strokes.  Every Tuesday, a group of CNS clients and their therapists visit the BORP Cycling Center for a group ride.  Most riders come for several months while they are enrolled in CNS programs and some continue to come independently afterward.

CNS  Therapist Albert Santa Cruz has this to say about our programs:

“BORP provides additional recreation therapy for our patients and provides a physical activity in community-based areas. There are plenty of articles and studies showing the benefits of outdoor activities including motivation to exercise, enhancing a positive attitude and emotion, and reducing mental fatigue. BORP allows a break for patients who undergo intense therapy in a clinical setting for hours a day while still getting a different type of rehabilitation. Bicycling outdoors allows patients to feel a sense of community involvement through social reintegration and inducing a mindset of belonging and being able to see their progress in a practical setting. Another aspect of bicycling outdoors is the exposure to sensory experiences by seeing the bright grassy areas, the sunny skies, and vast bay area water. Participation has given our patients a sense of a “reset” that allows them to continue their formal therapies refreshed.

The staff and volunteers have been phenomenal and accommodate for our sometimes large groups. They assist with all fitting for all of our patients and make sure our patients are safe with appropriate equipment. They adapt their equipment for our varying impairments and body types. We appreciate the open dialogue that is available at BORP and hope to keep the BORP and CNS relationship for a very long time.”

CNS Rider Spotlight:

CNS “graduate” Ray Ydoyaga on a recumbent trike near the BORP Cycling Center
Ray Ydoyaga

We interviewed CNS “graduate” Ray Ydoyaga about his personal experiences at BORP.  Ray started out riding recumbent cycles with the CNS group, has become a regular independent rider, and just this month successfully got back on a two-wheel cycle.

BORP: What do you enjoy about BORP?

Ray Ydoyaga: It’s great to be able to have a regular and fun outdoor athletic workout after a major physical injury.  This wouldn’t be possible for me without BORP’s special adaptive bikes.  BORP is also ideally located at the juncture of multiple bike trails ranging from the very easy loop around Aquatic Park Lake, to hidden paths around Berkeley marina, and to challenging and serious rides up to either the Bay Bridge bike path or, going the other direction, Richmond, and all offering stupendous views.   Pre-accident, I was a daily cyclist, so now post-accident, being able to do something physical again that i love has given me a lot of hope and improved my mental well-being.

BORP: Have you noticed a specific impact on your physical rehabilitation?

Ray: The repetitive cycling motions have definitely increased my strength, endurance, balance  and overall mobility.  My right side is still substantially weaker than left, but the regular cycling has given the right side a big boost.

BORP: What brought you to BORP?

Ray: In July 2016, I had a high-speed bicycle wipeout that caused a concussion and a spinal cord injury at neck level (C3).  That level of injury almost always means being (required to use a wheelchair), but through luck, years-long rehab work and the care AND INGENUITY of a great physical therapist, SEAN REYNOLDS OF CNS, I am able to walk — with a pronounced limp and sometimes looks a bit like a drunken sailor, but still, it’s a self-propelled walk nonetheless.  I have improved to the point where I will be taking my first solo ride on a regular two-wheeled bike very soon, and perhaps graduating from BORP’s fast three-wheeled trikes.