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Wheels for All September 16, 2007

Posted by Bill in Conditioning, Equipment.
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On this blog I’ve written a bit around the edges of the topic of accessibility, as the focus has been more about conditioning and returning to cycling as older riders. Honestly though, life’s unkind cuts aren’t reserved for those who have been fortunate enough to attain a stage of life with the word “age” attached to it… middle-aged, old-aged, etc. Bleah.

I admit to this omission as one of those belonging to that group I know as the Temporarily Able-Bodied, a group to which most of us belong, a group for which none of us carry a card. However, thanks to the demand by all riders that they be given access to speed produced by action of muscle and bone, the techno-gods of bikedom have created a fascinating and beautiful array of machines designed to accommodate virtually any mode of mobility we humans can bring to the roadways.

This post will begin with a couple featured machines and links to resources, and my intention is to add more over time. My hope is that other contributors will offer their links, images and experiences with these machines so this post can grow into a page of descriptive resources. The American River Parkway bike trail carries a fascinating array of these machines, and the opportunity to understand more about them, for the benefit of Geezers and non-Geezers alike, is most appealing. The bike trail calls to all of us equally… find your place.

Empty parkway

Probably most common among the alternative machines is the recumbent foot-pedal bike. That configuration is mentioned elsewhere on this site as a way to deal with spinal issues created by the head-first racing tuck or even the stress on joints and derrières produced by easy chair postures on comfort bikes. Steering controls, wheel sizes, fairings, and frame configurations vary widely between manufacturers, the possible options mind-numbing. Click on the photo below for a link to an outfit that can help out…

recumbent bikes

Always with an eye for pretty curves, the next category of bikes completely grabs my attention whether it’s at a triathlon or just cruising the parkway. The gentleman shown below gave me a generous tour of his handcycle, describing them as ideal for those riders with lower extremity, balance, knee or hip issues. These production bicycles come in various sizes and are further adjustable to the size of the rider. They also seem to come with the secret to the best upper-body physiques to grace the parkway. The rider below also suggested a great handcycle resource, linked to his picture. It’ll take you to the index page of bike-on.com:

handcycle_1

If you’ve been infected with race passion, you won’t want to miss a good drool over this machine, also available through the bike-on.com website. It’s the Schmicking S3 Race Tour Ultralight Handcycle, available on a custom basis, configured to your specific seating/power-production specs. From what I’ve seen at the triathlons, they can be equipped with the usual wallet-sucking performance gear such as carbon race wheels. Click on the image to go to its page on the bike-on.com website:

Schmicking Ultralight