Bikes for Disabled People

 

Several months ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to a disabled women and her service dog Amie. Nancy is 56 years old and has had MS for many years. She and her service dog walk several blocks to the bus station and take the Metro bus to get where they need to go, or just to get out of the house for awhile. It's not an easy walk for someone with MS yet she gets up and goes most every day. I am not sure I would have the guts to do the same. It would certainly be easier to just take pain pills and sleep all day.

Exercise is good for people with MS, heck, it is good for everyone! I thought it would be nice if she could go out on the bike trails with me. Riding a bike actually takes less effort than walking. Needless to say she has not been on a bike in years and people with MS have balance problems. Like I said she has guts, she was willing to give it a try, but it was hard to get her legs to cooperate at the same time she was trying to learn to balance the bike. She tried out an adult tricycle at the store and zoomed around the parking lot just fine. Problem was with her limited income she could not afford to buy an adult tricycle. The prices start at $300.00 and go up from there. The other problem is how do you transport a trike out to the bike trails and haul your other bikes too. Another thought I had is that if she gets a trike she still won't know if she can ride a 2 wheel bicycle.

I read stories about other people that have MS and they say their balance problems go away when they are on their bikes. Determined to find a solution I started looking around the Internet. I found some adult training wheels at FatWheels.com but the cost was about $170.00, might as well buy a tricycle.

I think it would be great if the local bike stores would buy some adult fatwheels and rent them out. Many people would only need them for a short time to help them get started. Seems like it would be a good way for bike stores to get new customers. It would give people who think they can't ride an opportunity to learn. It would give people who want to use fatwheels as a permenant solution a chance to try them out. Seems like it would be a win win situation for all involved. Are you Houston bike stores listening?

There are many alternative style bikes for handicapped people if money is no object. In this case we didn't have much of a budget so I decided the best solution was to build my own training wheels. These were made with scrap metal, old tires from a childs bike and a few nuts and bolts. The bike I purchased at a garage sale for $25.00.

 

 

Nancy's first test drive went great. We went out to the trails at Cullen Park and Nancy had a nice ride. It took a little time for her to get used to the bike, which is to be expected. By the time we left she was riding like an old pro. It will of course take time for her to build up strength in her bad knee but I am sure she will be able to go further each time. I remember the first time I rode at Cullen Park. I could only make it to the halfway point. If nothing else, she was given an opportunity to try something new and different.

Click here for bike construction details and other options for handicapped riders.

   
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