Motorcycling News

Let’s Twist Again Foundation Inc. Motorcycle Therapy Program

Written by  February 28, 2015

Living up North, we are resigned to a winter season not being able to enjoy the open road. However, many motorcycle enthusiasts find themselves unable to ride at all for several reasons, including recovering from surgery, in short or long term rehabilitation, military related injuries for veterans at the VA, and even hospice patients. Those who used to ride motorcycles have a very close relationship with riding and find it depressing to think they might never have that experience again.

Now there is a way for these riders to virtually experience the road! This amazing therapy is available through the Lets Twist Again Foundation Inc. Motorcycle Therapy Program, with a mission “to provide a virtual motorcycle riding program to hospitals/clinics that empowers and inspires individuals to recover and discover their abilities.”

The program participants use the SMARTrainer virtual motorcycle apparatus. It is not an arcade game, but an advanced motorcycle skills trainer made by Honda. Patients ride using real motorcycle controls, handlebars, throttle, clutch, and brake, with a choice of manual or automatic transmission. Let's Twist Again Foundation Inc. founder, Garry Segal was at one point going through a tough time himself. He explained, "I was sick at one point. I couldn't ride a motorcycle the typical way, but I could do this, so I thought wow, what about folks coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and in VA Hospitals?" Garry made modifications to the SMARTtrainer that enables virtual motorcycling from a hospital bed or wheelchair.

Patients start the engine, hear it rev up and ride through a virtual landscape. Those who have never been on a motorcycle can benefit too, learning new skills in a safe virtual environment while having fun. From his perspective as the rehab/rider coach, Gary explains, “motorcycle skills are unique and offer a way to exercise cognitive and motor skills in an engaging format...motorcycling. The skills used in my program obviously take out of play an actual sense of motion and leaning to turn, etc. But the mental process and motor skills needed just on the handlebars and feet to ride this virtual bike are quite challenging and engaging enough that folks stay focused. Focus has been a big positive outcome, some patients with dementia that have trouble staying seated or doing an activity for very long have been able to stay engaged with motorcycle therapy with the help of the rider coach.”

Garry provides the motorcycle therapy program on a regular basis to the VA Home in Black Mountain, Universal Healthcare in Fletcher, and Spring Arbor in Hendersonville, all in North Carolina, with two new facilities to start soon. Garry refreshes his motorcycle soul on a Triumph Bonneville T100, riding around the Blue Ridge Parkway and throughout western North Carolina and South Carolina.

Positive feedback on the program comes from Daphne Neal, Activities and Wellness Director at Spring Arbor of Hendersonville, NC.” As an activity director, it is always so wonderful when you get a new program in that is so beneficial in numerous ways. Garry’s motorcycle therapy is something our residents at The Spring Arbors look forward to every week. There have been residents that have been attending ongoing and then at least once a week we have been able to get a “newbie” in to join us as well. Emotionally and socially for the residents it gives them back their independence for that moment and they are able to gain back their independence through their fine motor and judgment skills. To see these residents focus using their eyes and hands again to gain control of something has had such wonderful effects for our residents. Recently we had a resident under Hospice care drive the motorcycle for 20 minutes! She not only drove well, but was able to focus and her cognitive level increased. This resident is 96 years old! We have another resident who is in our Cottage (Memory Care) that is here weekly. What an amazing program this is! The residents have benefited dearly from it. Thanks again Garry!”

As spring approaches and we get ready to ride, we can join together to give program participants “a twist to the wrist and a smile for a while,” as Garry enthusiastically states. Tax deductible donations can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/e707jo or www.motorcycletherapy.org. Letstwistagainfoundation is a registered 501c3 nonprofit. It would be great encouragement to patients if the Cycle Connections community made our presence known by sending positive words and identifying yourself as a member of Cycle Connections when you donate. Garry has already invested several months of research, consulting with medical professionals, as well as veterans and motorcyclists about program ideas and options. He has self-financed the initial startup costs, the costs associated with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) certification process, and the cost of developing rehab modifications for the equipment. He is solely depending on donations to continue and grow this awesome program. Even though it is in one state now, with enough support patients and veterans around the country could benefit “down the road.” More donation-specific information is available on the motorcycle org website. Garry welcomes any questions through email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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