Rehabilitation & Para-Cycles
Cruise Control: the saddle of the Van Raam Pilot tandem provides balance support (Photo: the manufacturer)
Note that this page serves to highlight the variety of human-powered mobility choices available to persons with special needs. Please consult a physician or rehabilitation professional for expert medical advice.
Today several manufacturers offer completely customizable cycling platforms that may be fully adapted to accomodate the needs of physically-challenged persons. For example, Draisin bicycles and trikes have long been popular for rehab cycling in Germany and central Europe. Started in 2007, Draisin is now being imported to the U.S.
Unfortunately to date, most health insurers still will not pay for the acquisition of such human powered vehicles and the manufacturers themselves do not lobby. Contact your insurer to discuss your coverage.
Special needs trikes often come with the American-style soft fabric mesh seating found on recumbent trikes (as opposed to the European molded seat form). Electric-assist should also of strong interest to those with special needs. See the pedelecs page for more information.
Made of durable steel, with wide access to pull a wheelchair up alongside for mounting and dismounting, these often electrically-assisted human-powered vehicles do a lot to help stroke survivors and other people facing physical challenges regain independence and outdoor freedom.
Easy Does It: the Draisin Relax can be customized for left- or right-hand operation (Photo: pasi2806 on ebay)
Such trikes can be customized by the manufacturer or a local dealer (more often a rehab specialist than an independent bicycle shop) to be controlled using only the left or right hand for steering, braking and shifting, or steering using one thigh.
Out and About: the Drasin Plus with detachable wheelchair (Photo: funforall.ch)
This section is under development.
Getting a Grip: handcycles enable persons with leg or spinal cord injuries to cycle
Hand cycles provide all the benefits of human powered vehicles for those who cannot use their legs to pedal.
Last But Not Least: two-wheeled trailer bikes are well-suited for special needs (Photo: 5minutesformom.com)
People with special needs, especially older children and young adults, can profit from the use of so-called trailer bikes. See the trailer bike page in the bike trailers section for more information.
Double Back: two-wheeled trailer bikes are also available with a tandem frame (Photo: forum.ctc.org.uk)
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