Tadpole Trikes

Recumbent Trikes + Disability

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Can a Recumbent Trike make a difference?

Just showing the access I get with my trike.

Posted by Mark Grimsley on Saturday, 11 August 2018

Recumbent Trikes Provide Excellent Support for People with a Disability

Disability, or limited ability, should not prevent people from experiencing the joy of riding. In fact, the original reason we began exploring the world of recumbent trikes was due to Eric’s disability. Back and neck problems made it impossible for him to ride a two-wheeled bicycle.

Since getting into recumbent trikes, we’ve meet countless people and families with needs like ours – namely, to be able to:

  • safely get out and ride
  • experience the freedom cycling offers
  • enjoy exercising,
  • explore the great outdoors in comfort!

It has been our privilege meeting and helping these wonderful people to discover the world of recumbent cycling. For many, riding a two-wheeled bike wasn’t an option but they have thrived on being able to ride a recumbent trike.

Riding with a Disability/Limited Ability

Each of these people have come to us with their own story.

For example, some people have balance problems, weakness in a limb, autism, recovering from a stroke or knee replacements, visual impairment, etc.

Some have been young (7 yrs old) and others have been a little more experienced in life (90 yrs old).

Almost regardless of their abilities, each of these people had something in common. They all wanted the freedom to exercise or enjoy the pleasures of being outside.

Adjusting Recumbent Trikes To Suit Rider’s Needs

Sometimes, our journey with riders of different abilities has meant a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box.

Recumbent trikes have been adjusted to meet riders' needs with new supports (eg., calf supporting pedals), the addition of a small step, a different configuration of gears, 2 into 1 brake levers, rear wheel parking brake, addition of rider-assist-motors, extra supporting straps, creation of tag-along-recumbent for a visual impaired rider, etc.

Rear Drum Brake
Rear Drum Brake to assist Entry/Exit (and parking)

For people with back issues, we can add a little shock cord to the seat and vary the tension to different parts of the seat, allowing firmer or softer areas in the support structure.

From Wayne“My name is Wayne, a retired Civil Engineer from Brisbane. I have mobility issues insofar as I have limited use of my limbs on my right hand side. This is due to a Neurological condition that has existed for almost 20 years and has been slowly progressing
For comfort, I chose a Greenspeed Magnum XL with adaptations to the gear levers and brakes to meet my mobility requirements [pinion gearing and different brake system with internal geared hub and drum parking brake] along with a special assembly [Calf support pedal], which was fitted to the right crank to hold by foot securely in place - otherwise preventing it from slipping off a standard pedal.
It has been great dealing with Queensland Recumbent and Eric made a real effort to gain full understanding of my mobility issues. He worked hard to reduce the constraints that relate to the right hand side mobility issues by proposing and implementing the sound technical solutions as described above.
Eric has since made the suggestion that a Pinion gearbox system to replace the gearing system already in place to make my Trike even more accessible.I have no hesitation recommending Queensland Recumbent to any person of any age with or without mobility issues. Being able to visit the place of business in Tewantin (Noosa) and trial the Trikes is a definite advantage - it is only 2 hours travel north on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane. Furthermore, being able to talk to Eric face to face is a significant advantage.Massive thanks goes to Eric and Susan.”

Single Hand Operation Gear Change and Brake
1. Twelve speed forward Pinion Gearbox 2. Dual front Drum Brakes 3. Five speed IGH (rear gearbox) 4. Rear Drum Brake (park/emergency brake)
One handed Operation
One handed Operation

Leg or Calf Support

Versatile Magnum SD
Versatile Magnum SD

While you can do similar things on different trikes, for most situations where modifications need to be applied to allow better management/access to a trike, the Magnum SD is an excellent place to start. There are three main variations of the Magnum:

Versatile Magnum SD
Step into the Frame
  • Place brakes to park position.
  • Walk into one side of the pedals. Lift one leg to the other side then back to the chair and sit.
  • You can fit two Grab Handles to the trike to support your weight when getting seated.
Versatile Magnum SD
Step into the Frame
Versatile Magnum SD
Sit using full body weight support
Versatile Magnum SD
Lift foot onto platform...
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Lift foot onto platform ...and clamp
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Strap in leg/calf

Should the situation require, the strap can be put on the leg then pant legs pulled down over the top of the strap.

Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Leg is held in position

From here you are ready to roll. The ankle area is held in a square on position. Use your upper leg and knee to control the pedal in conjunction with the other leg.Hand ControlOn this particular trike, the rider is unable to control the trike from the right hand. All controls have been placed so, whilst in motion, the rider can control the trike by the left hand only.

Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Single Sided Operation - releasing parking brake
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Applying brake whilst riding
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Changing 5 gear hub at rear
Versatile Magnum SD for Disability
Changing 12 speed gearbox at pedals

The Recumbent Smile: At the end of the day, we’ve witnessed something outstandingly beautiful. Over and over again, we’ve seen the ‘this-is-absolutely-fantastic-smile’ that spreads across their faces when they’ve first tried a recumbent trike suited to their individual needs.

Truly, it’s a contagious smile that affects everyone around them!We look forward to witnessing the ‘recumbent smile’ many more times to come.Thank You To Riders of All Abilities. One more thing ... we’d like to thank all of these people, and their carers, who are so inspirational!Rather than sit down and let life pass them on by, they’ve all decided to make the most of what they have! No wonder we get such a ‘kick’ out of fitting/adapting a recumbent trike for new riders!Now It’s Your Turn.

If you, a family member or friend, is unable to ride a bicycle due to a disability or limited ability, then it’s time to try a recumbent trike!We’re happy to talk with you to find how a recumbent trike can suit your needs.Feel free to contact us today.

Use your imagination and ask questions. Maybe something hasn't been done before but the imagination is a very powerful thing. Even if you can't think of the how, at least mention to someone what you would like to be able to do and get a couple of imaginations working together.