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  1. #1
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    Exploring Options on special build

    I feel almost like a chump asking such questions but I'm not having much luck figuring things out on my own so I will just plunge into it.

    I want to build another bike for my wife as she is now fearful to ride her present bike I built for her four years ago. Normal circumstances would certainly dictate buying something off the shelf but we are not dealing with normal rationality here. My wife has an extremely rare genetic disorder called Ehler's Danlos type IV that comes with a number of bizarre issues.
    Bizarre as in, she has no natural balance because she does not have proprioception meaning she cannot tell position of body parts in relation to one another or how far she is from objects. She does surprisingly well but everything is learned and not transferable. Non transferable means that if she hurt her foot she could not use a set of crutches because those movements would have to be learned separately. If she falls down she has a devil of a time getting up because she has not fallen enough to know how to do that easily. Somehow she learned to ride a bike as a kid. Thank god it wasn't me whom had to teach her. All was good and well but not she is older and there are too many orthopedic issues involved. She is now to scared to ride a regular bike because she really has know real idea when the bike will actually stop and when to put a foot down. This can cause her to lurch and hurt her shoulders so she has quit.
    The problem is that I have got to keep a traditional riding position on a bike or she is not going to go on. She wants to but would be too scared to try due to learning to many new things. Ultimate stability is the big question. Big training wheels are definitely out as any uneven surface with a loss of traction would send her over the deep end. A conventional trike is out because she has fallen diagonally on them as a kid and is fearful. I have not found a two front wheel trike yet that she is able to get into and out of yet and she likes her present bike. Damn.

    I can build anything and the only logical option seems to be to put a dual wheel dual steering front setup under her present bike where the front fork is now that uses her handlebars to steer it.

    I know, over forty years of this stuff, what's one more hurtle. Does anybody know anybody whom has ever done this type of frame setup?
    I am unsure of geometry with a ridged setup in front or the proper width of front wheel spacing or is the 21 degree steering tubes are maintained on the dual wheel setup. I would love to avoid several tries to get it right. Bike is currently electric.

    I am eager to preserve some form a normalcy for as long as possible for her.

  2. #2
    nrj
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    That's impressive she's able to ride a bike at all!

    My first thought would be to get her into riding a tandem. You, as captain, can do the balancing, shifting, etc. All she has to do is pedal and put a foot down when required, all things it sounds like she should be able to do.

    My wife will probably go legally blind at some point. We figured we'd just switch to a tandem when that happens, or you know, do something else

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrj View Post
    That's impressive she's able to ride a bike at all!

    My first thought would be to get her into riding a tandem. You, as captain, can do the balancing, shifting, etc. All she has to do is pedal and put a foot down when required, all things it sounds like she should be able to do.

    My wife will probably go legally blind at some point. We figured we'd just switch to a tandem when that happens, or you know, do something else
    Sounds good in theory but that would not work. Her position and help on the back of a tandem would be all learned movement. She could not sense how to help me and could not see. Seeing is how she currently senses. She can step a maximum of 14" high and cannot balance at all on one foot for more than a second or two even hanging onto something. Too scary for her at 60yo
    She currently drives just fine but don't change one damned thing in her car including the car or there is hell to pay. If I am driving and she is in the passenger seat her sense of distance is off enough she thinks I am always running into the car ahead of us.

    Building a bike for her is probably going to be about like taking the tonsils out through the asshole.

  4. #4
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    Would a pedal car work?
    . . . . . . . .

  5. #5
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    Have her re-learn on a 20" BMX bike. That's how I finally got my 46-year-old gal to finally get up on two wheels. Her dad told me the day she had to stop riding the training wheels.... she screamed bloody murder. He backed-off, since then.

    At 52, she now rides Road with me and has a XS Giant bike, modified with MTB flat bar and Grip Shifters. I still cannot get her to raise her saddle somehow...
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

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    Babboe (various models) and Jorvik (child carrier model only) both offer reverse trikes - Jorvik are kind enough to publish detailed dimensions. If you were up for the extra engineering challenge, Butchers & Bicycles (MK1-E model) adds tilt steer to the mix which should make cornering more stable although it does then require a foot-down when stopped. The TreGo cart add-on does something similar as a bolt-on addition to an existing bike but looks like it loses some front wheel gap.

    Would any of those work as the basis of a design for you to work from?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    Would a pedal car work?
    I will have to do some research on that. The last one's I remember from 60 years ago would not exactly work.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cayenne_Pepa View Post
    Have her re-learn on a 20" BMX bike. That's how I finally got my 46-year-old gal to finally get up on two wheels. Her dad told me the day she had to stop riding the training wheels.... she screamed bloody murder. He backed-off, since then.

    At 52, she now rides Road with me and has a XS Giant bike, modified with MTB flat bar and Grip Shifters. I still cannot get her to raise her saddle somehow...
    Exploring Options on special build-img_0775.jpg

    This is her present bike. Specialized Roll modified by me in 2016. 52 volt crank drive 360 watt hour battery, carbon bars, XO 9 speed grip shift, LEV 125mm dropper post.

    Her shoulder is the problem at the moment and cannot really be fixed. She is afraid of it. Orthopedic issues are Lukie rods in back, bilateral knee replacement, fusions of both feet (18 plates each foot + 72 screws) failed shoulder repairs. Perception is the main problem (stopping)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuartm2 View Post
    Babboe (various models) and Jorvik (child carrier model only) both offer reverse trikes - Jorvik are kind enough to publish detailed dimensions. If you were up for the extra engineering challenge, Butchers & Bicycles (MK1-E model) adds tilt steer to the mix which should make cornering more stable although it does then require a foot-down when stopped. The TreGo cart add-on does something similar as a bolt-on addition to an existing bike but looks like it loses some front wheel gap.

    Would any of those work as the basis of a design for you to work from?
    You have given me some paths to check out. I will do that and report back.

  10. #10
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    Are tadpole recumbents out? Too low to get in and out of?

    What about something like the Opus Counterpoint / Bilenky Viewpoint / Hase Pino?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby View Post
    Are tadpole recumbents out? Too low to get in and out of?

    What about something like the Opus Counterpoint / Bilenky Viewpoint / Hase Pino?
    Will check these out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuartm2 View Post
    Would any of those work as the basis of a design for you to work from?
    Some of these could work. Will have to run them by my wife

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrj View Post
    My first thought would be to get her into riding a tandem. You, as captain, can do the balancing, shifting, etc. All she has to do is pedal and put a foot down when required, all things it sounds like she should be able to do.

    My wife will probably go legally blind at some point. We figured we'd just switch to a tandem when that happens, or you know, do something else
    It's too bad that OP don't think this will work. I have a tandem, and have had about a dozen stokers. With another >200lb dude he needs to keep himself balanced, although so long as he doesn't try to mess us up it doesn't matter what he does. With a 120lb lady she can do whatever she wants. We can track-stand, even though she can't hardly do it on her own. All the stoker needs to do is be calm and not fall off.

    My tandem is a 1991 gary fisher mtb. It was 400$ in 2014. It is SO FUN to ride on beginner singletrack. It's like sharing a ride on a roller coaster.

    I've seen blind stokers out riding organized centuries. Really cool.







    Super interesting question. I hope you find a great solution and keep the thread going.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  15. #15
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    Perhaps something like this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2uI2Jjwid4

  16. #16
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    Kinda off the wall question, given the input specifics. If the knowing exactly when to put a foot down is one of the triggers of a potential injury, could you do something as an add-on to your existing bike? Such as an attachment that would audibly feedback the spinning rate of the wheel? As it "chirps" through a small speaker (or something like that) down to nothing, when it gets close to nothing that's when she puts a foot down.

    Just in terms of a low effort suggestion. Card in the spokes, even.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  17. #17
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    Drew that might work if she thinks she can still get the bike going. She has got to pedal the bike to start it. It does not compute that she could use the throttle and pick up her feet. She apparently never learned to just coast without pedaling or can't make the connection to starting.
    Been married to her for 42 years and I am still surprised by what she can do, and baffled by what she won't do.
    Everything that is being suggested here I am putting under her nose for the smell test before I get excited.

  18. #18
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    scottzg I ran the tandem thing by her again and she looked over the top of her glasses and laughed. She will no longer give me the finger as I have asked if we could do that too many times in the past.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PierreR View Post
    scottzg I ran the tandem thing by her again and she looked over the top of her glasses and laughed. She will no longer give me the finger as I have asked if we could do that too many times in the past.
    Yup that's how it goes. I've had friends that are great cyclists, but they hate it. Others who are... not good, and they adore it. If they like the idea, it's a blast. If they're not receptive, we don't have fun. I have no doubt she'd be ok physically, but if she's not in to it... it doesn't work.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickuk View Post
    These were very promising to my wife. She likes the idea of larger wheels
    There might be enough left of the Roman site to engineer the conversion. I would then have to figure out what frame parts I could buy, where to buy them and what I have to make. I might be able to get this done by early summer.

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