Author Topic: Unusual Bicycle Needs  (Read 3180 times)

SwordGuy

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Unusual Bicycle Needs
« on: November 21, 2012, 07:16:05 PM »
Hi,

I'm trying to get my family bicycling for health, family time and yes, savings, too.

I can handle coming up with a reasonable bike for myself to commute or run errands with.  That's fairly simple.  No help needed there.  I used to ride my bike a lot when I was younger and much skinnier.

My wife has osteoporosis.  (Her bones are easily breakable.)  The last time she fell she broke both wrists and pulverized part of the bones in one of them.  There is no way I'll get her on a standard 2 wheel bicycle.  She's willing to consider an adult tricycle or anything else equally stable.

We have an adult, mentally handicapped daughter.  She weighs about 130 pounds.    She's too heavy x2 for any of the child carrier attachments I've seen advertised.

Plus, her reaction times are way too slow at this point for her to ride a bicycle safely on her own.  She needs to be on a shared cycle.  Ideally, I would like her to be able to pedal, steer and brake in addition to me.  I think forcing faster reaction times, if done safely and a bit at a time, would be good for her.
But I can't count on her to pull her weight in the pedaling department at this time.  Hopefully after some practice!  Worst case, we need to be able to pull her behind me on whatever I'm/we're riding.

The bicycle industry term for a side-by-side riding experience appears to be "sociable" as opposed to the behind-one-another "tandem" kind.  Frankly, I wouldn't mind a "sociable" side-by-side cycle for riding with my wife and with my daughter in the back.  We would get some good exercise and some good family conversation time.

I don't expect any cycle solution that works for the above criteria to be cheap. :(    But I've got the money and it's a good investment in our health.

Anyone have experience with some cycles that might work for our needs?   Recommendations for/against any vendors or models?

Thanks in advance!

Taffy

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 07:36:57 PM »
I have ridden a Quattrocycle before. They seem sturdy and well built, pretty comfortable, and the individual gearing is very smart. They also cost as much as a small car, and don't have much in the way of built-in storage (though you could rig up your own pretty easily). Minimal risk of falls for your wife, and your daughter can pedal too, though on the one I tried only one rider controlled the steering and braking.

bogart

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 07:43:17 PM »
This site seems to list a lot of resources.  If you're in the US, don't be put off by the fact that the first couple listed aren't, there are US-located options on here.  There are also some links to DIY modifications to more traditional bikes, if that's of interest.  I have no expertise, so just posting this in case it may be useful:
http://www.rswart.org/fourwhel.htm .  Hope you can find a solution that works for all of you!

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 08:24:14 PM »
I'd suggest a recumbent tadpole trike for your wife-- that's the most stable configuration (an extra wheel adds little but weight, rolling resistance, and cost), and being low to the ground, if she does somehow manage to crash it's less likely to cause injury.  These are more common than you'd think, with a number of manufacturers in North America and more in Europe. You will have to invest over a thousand dollars, though.

For you and your daughter, I'd suggest starting her as a stoker on a tandem bicycle-- the stoker pedals, and breaks, but her reaction time won't put you in danger; the driver's breaks are the important ones. Unfortunately, she'd not be able to steer with you, but it's a good first step, and used tandems can be found relatively cheap if you're lucky. There have been tandems made with linked steering for the stoker, but I've never seen one; you might be able to convert one or find someone to do so.

Not as fun and social as a quadracycle, I suppose, but much more practical and for the price of one of those the you could buy yourself a decent commuter bike, a recumbent for your wife and a tandem for you and your daughter and still have enough left over to do it all again a couple times over if you forget to lock up.

momo27

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 03:55:23 AM »
I second the notion of a recumbent tadpole for your wife.

Another option for your daughter would be something like this tagalong-style bicycle, the adult size is rated for up to 200 lbs. http://www.especialneeds.com/trikes-bikes-scooters-tricyces-bicycles-training-wheelsadaptive-tricycles-trikes-special-needs-trike-trailer.html  I've been toying with getting one for my son who has a significant gross motor delay.  It's a less expensive option than getting a tandem.

SwordGuy

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2012, 07:42:35 PM »
Thank you all, each answer was very useful!

Now it's just a matter of finding what I need at the right price!

SwordGuy

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 08:33:05 PM »
Well, here is where I'm at.

I showed a photo of the recumbent trikes to my wife and she didn't like them.  She likes being a bit higher up so she has better visibility (situational awareness and more likely to be seen).   Seems reasonable, so I'm going with a standard adult trike.   

I found a used one on Craigslist about an hour away by car.  It's cheaper than buying a new one, even with the gas and mileage wear and tear on the car.  I'll be picking it up Saturday.

I'll let my daughter try the trike at a nearby empty parking lot and see how she does.   Depending on the results from that, I'll either get her a trike of her own or order the adult trike trailer an earlier poster suggested.   I suspect it will be the trailer, but I try never to pre-judge her abilities on the low side.

I put out a call to my social network for used bikes and it turns out my son just bought a new bike and was going to sell his old one.  He's giving it to me for Christmas, plus a bike rack he doesn't need.  I won't see him until then as it's a 6 hour drive to visit.  (Some trips are worth delaying financial independence for, 'cause I have a great daughter in law and two grandkids to visit with too.)

I don't know whether the bike will fit me or not, he's a strapping lad.  If it doesn't, I'll trade it in for one that does.  Either way, my son gets to give is dad-who-has-everything-he-needs something he actually needs and doesn't have, and I'll save several hundred to five hundred dollars.   Win-win either way. 

Right before my son told me he had a bike for me, I noticed the bikes leaning against the wall of my neighbor's house.   I realized I hadn't seen them moved since their son got a car, so I may be able to easily score an inexpensive one if my son's old bike doesn't fit.

I've already got my bike route for commuting mapped out...   I'll get to start the new year in fine style.

Thanks again for the help!

frompa

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 05:17:33 AM »
It sounds like you've got this challenge well in hand, but for future or further reference, a great resource for practical cycling is the British magazine Velovision.  I'm pretty sure they are available on line, and from reading them for years, I can tell you they are the best source of practical, day-to-day, real life cycling info, for family members of all abilities, from all over Europe (where cycling doesn't seem fetishized as recreation like it mostly is here in the US.)  When my near adult son had big health issues a few years ago, and couldn't safely ride his regular bike, we got a recumbent trike so he could ride even while balance was an issue; even after he got back to his two wheeler, we kept the trike for times other family members were somehow impaired.  (Like when I sprained my ankle and could only walk on crutches; the trike allowed me to ride using one leg only.)  It's also great fun to ride.

MafiaPrincess

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Re: Unusual Bicycle Needs
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 12:54:48 PM »
I'm new to frugality and financial planning, but have been reading lots for a few weeks.

Love the bike ideas mentioned here.  My adult sister has autism, lack of balance and can't do much in the way of sports.  That tagalong trailer looks pretty good.  Be interesting to propose this to the rest of my family.  Thanks for the thread :)