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  1. #1
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    Help for My Sister

    Hi, I'm looking for some advice for getting... well, not a bike, exactly. More like a balance bike, for my sister.

    She's 49 years old, weighs a around 94 pounds, and is 4' 10" tall with a 26" inseam. She's had a number of health problems over the years. At the moment, she needs to have her left hip replaced, due to arthritis and has equilibrium problems. (she had her right hip replaced about 10 years ago). In the last two months, using her walker has become very hard for her, because of the problems with her left hip.

    What we are looking for is a means by which she can get around on her own, yet sit and rest her left leg on some part of the bike. I've looked at a number of kid's balance bikes, because of the smaller wheels. Unfortunately, most of them are so small from stem to stern that, even if it's possible to raise the seat and handle bars, then add some kind of balancing wheel and something to rest her left foot on, it would be difficult for her to use it.

    Or at least, we THINK that might be the case; the photos of the bikes I've looked at just don't give enough sense of things for me to get a real picture, and buying several bikes, only to have to send them back would be problematic, financially speaking.

    Can anyone give us some advice on finding and adapting a small bike to suit my sister's needs? Mostly, we'd like to find something that, if need be, we can put smaller wheels on, so she'd be able to, say, use the bike/scooter in a store and around her apartment without too much trouble, using only her right leg as her motive power. We're talking about doing some pretty serious adaptation, ideally for a relatively low price, since she's on a fixed income.

    Okay, I hope this made sense, and that someone can help us out. Walking has become very painful for my sister, but she's adamant (as are we) that she doesn't want to go to using a wheelchair if at all possible, even on a temporary basis. Please ask any questions that might help clarify what I'm trying to describe, and thanks in advance for any help anyone can give.

  2. #2
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    What I am thinking is taking a bike:

    add training wheels for stability since falling doesn't sound like an option,

    remove the left side pedal and crank arm since she can't use it

    add a clipless pedal to the right so she can get power out of the full rotation

    use a very small chainring like a granny gear from a mountian bike since it doesn't sound like she is going to be going fast

    and rig up some kind of stationary platform on the left for her foot

    maybe use a three speed hub if she wants to go faster than walking speed but with the granny chainring she wouldn't be going that much faster.


    Check and see if you have a local bike coop. They may be able to help work this out or even have some spare parts laying around.

  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowsirocco View Post
    What I am thinking is taking a bike:

    add training wheels for stability since falling doesn't sound like an option,

    remove the left side pedal and crank arm since she can't use it

    add a clipless pedal to the right so she can get power out of the full rotation

    use a very small chainring like a granny gear from a mountian bike since it doesn't sound like she is going to be going fast

    and rig up some kind of stationary platform on the left for her foot

    maybe use a three speed hub if she wants to go faster than walking speed but with the granny chainring she wouldn't be going that much faster.


    Check and see if you have a local bike coop. They may be able to help work this out or even have some spare parts laying around.
    +1

  4. #4
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Think 3 wheels instead of 2... trike.

    The cheapest way out will be one of these. I've personally inspected one and wasn't disappointed for $250 asking. I'm 5'3" so no doubt she'll accommodate. 20" (BMX size) wheels and even folds for easier transporting. And as funds improve, you can add electric assist. The Wally site states they are out of stock online, but check locally. My area shows 2 in stock. BTW, if memory serves, these are made in USA (believe it or not).

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Trifecta-S...ricycle/882975



    Last edited by PaPa; 12-23-11 at 01:58 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs down

    [QUOTE=PaPa;13631920]Think 3 wheels instead of 2... trike.

    The cheapest way out will be one of these. I've personally inspected one and wasn't disappointed for $250 asking. I'm 5'3" so no doubt she'll accommodate. 20" (BMX size) wheels and even folds for easier transporting. And as funds improve, you can add electric assist. The Wally site states they are out of stock online, but check locally. My area shows 2 in stock. BTW, if memory serves, these are made in USA (believe it or not).

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Trifecta-S...ricycle/882975


    The biggest problem with the adult trike is that my sister currently can neither lift her left leg above knee-height, or put more than a very small amount of weight on it. In fact, the problem has gotten bad enough just in the days since my OP, that we've now decided to go ahead and at least rent an electric mobility scooter, just so she can get around in her small apartment. We're hoping, come the new year, that her medical people will be able to get her into surgery to replace the hip in less than a month. In the meantime, she now needs something that she can use indoors as well as when she's out and about, and she needs it immediately.

    I was not able to answer a PM sent me by someone... don't have enough posts in, apparently... but in the event that we decide to go ahead with some sort of modified bike/trike, we live within a half-hour of Davis, California, and not quite an hour from San Francisco.

    Thanks for your suggestions, everyone; if it begins to look like it's going to take very long before we can get my sister into surgery, we'll certainly look more deeply into getting her on something that allows her to use her right leg, instead of it just carrying her around. Actually, that will be especially important once the surgery is actually done, and the left hip begins healing.

    Incredibly, this site informs me that I need to lengthen my message before it will publish. Let's see if I've managed it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Well, I certainly hope her condition improves. And kudos to you for helping her, and for seeking improvements to enhance her mobility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kae11 View Post
    The biggest problem with the adult trike is that my sister currently can neither lift her left leg above knee-height, or put more than a very small amount of weight on it.
    The step-over height on the trike pictured above is approx 12-13"

  7. #7
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kae11 View Post

    I was not able to answer a PM sent me by someone... don't have enough posts in, apparently... but in the event that we decide to go ahead with some sort of modified bike/trike, we live within a half-hour of Davis, California, and not quite an hour from San Francisco.
    (snip)

    Incredibly, this site informs me that I need to lengthen my message before it will publish. Let's see if I've managed it.
    When you quote a post, you need to type outside the quoted part - otherwise the forum software assumes you haven't posted anything besides the quote.

    If you don't have enough posts to send a PM, you can always go to the person's profile page and leave a visitor message.
    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Does the ignore feature just replace all of the poster's text with "Said something stupid" because that would be awesome.
    Forum Guidelines *click here*

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    Here in NL I've seen a "walk bike" which was built with no bottom bracket, pedals or chain for adults. The gentleman using it had diabetes and wheeled himself into a church concert. No one looked at him weird for bringing in a bike. It held his weight up and allowed him to be very mobile for the advanced condition of his diabetes. I wish I could find a photo of the bike I saw! I've looked around on the internet with no good results.

    For your sister, you might want to try these: http://www.stabilizerwheels.com/

    They are large stabilizer wheels that go on the back of the bike much like children's training wheels. They look a lot beefier than anything else offered and don't look childish.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
    American Expat living in the Netherlands
    Artist, Educator and Cyclist

  9. #9
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    What about a recumbent(http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isc...84l705l0.5l5l0) bike?

    It would take the pressure off her hips.

  10. #10
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    Hi,

    I broke both heels five years ago in a ladder accident, and have trouble walking and standing. I use a patent-pending, seated, step-through, walking scooter which I designed and built, to take weight off my feet. I can easily maneuver indoors and out with this 12"-wheeled scooter, including around corners and in narrow hallways.

    I was a bike shop owner for over 12 years, so I know about bikes. The easiest, least expensive solution for your sister would be to buy a 20"-wheeled BMX bike, remove the drive train, and put on a more comfortable wide seat. If she is worried about falling on her bad hip, the key is to sit with a thigh of the bad leg on the seat, and keep the weight on the good leg, which does the propelling.

    If you have questions, feel free to ask.

    Good luck,

    Brian

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    http://www.vanraam.nl/overigen-+-loo...city/itm/12579

    I finally found a photo of a Vanraam Walking-bike. If you click on the link it takes you directly to the Vanraam website here in the Netherlands. If you need it translated, you can use google translate... but photos speak louder than words.
    http://ronajustine.blogspot.com
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  12. #12
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rona View Post
    http://www.vanraam.nl/overigen-+-loo...city/itm/12579

    I finally found a photo of a Vanraam Walking-bike. If you click on the link it takes you directly to the Vanraam website here in the Netherlands. If you need it translated, you can use google translate... but photos speak louder than words.
    How is a walking bike going to do your sister's hips any good? That is why I suggested a recumbent bike. She would rehab her hips while not having the pressure of gravity on them.

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