1988 - Volume #12, Issue #2, Page #35[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
New hand pedal cycle big help to handicapped"It's handier, faster, more comfortable and much more maneuverable outdoors than a conventional wheelchair," says Freedom Specialties, Cleghorn, Iowa, of the firm's new 3-wheel, hand-pedal cycle.
Special "mushroom grip" handlebars, which act as "pedals" to power the front wheel, are also used for steering and braking.
To operate the cycle, you rotate both hands in a circle, "It's like you have hold of the bike.pedals, straight in front of your shoulders," explains Rick Hurd, who tested a prototype unit designed and built by his friend, Fred Johnston. "Turn an exercise bike upside down and pedal with both hands, and you'll have an idea of' how it works. Your hands do what your feet do on a two-wheel bike," says Hurd, who man-ages a grain elevator in Cleghorn. He rides the cycle 3 blocks each day to work, having been confined to a wheelchair since he suffered a bruised spinal cord 17 years ago.
"A conventional wheelchair can be uncomfortable and painful for the hands be-cause of the repetitive gripping movement you must make on the wheels," says Hurd. "Since I got this cycle, I don't use my pickup much here in town. It's so much handier for me to just get on the bike and go. With no doors to open, it's a lot quicker than getting in and out of a car or pickup," explains Hurd, who teamed up with Johnston to form the Freedom Specialties company which custom builds the new cycles. "They could be a big help for paraplegics, partial quadriplegics, elderly per-sons, or anyone with some upper-body strength," Hurd points out.
Two models are available, in 20 and 24 in. sizes, to accommodate children or adults. The cycles, which cost right at $900, can be custom made to fit the buyer's needs and measurements.
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Freedom Specialties, Box 83, Cleghorn, Iowa 51014 (ph 712 436-2666).
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