Rat Patrol Chicago
Join Date: Apr 2006
Bikes: None, all, it's the same thing
I love making bikes for special needs. Oftentimes this can give freedom to someone who otherwise doesn't get around much. We've made handcycles, a bike for a guy with muscular dystonia, one for a kid with CP, bikes for little people (who can't just ride kids bikes, torso too long), bikes for blind guys, trikes for people with balance issues, etc etc.
Have you considered some kind of combination bike that would allow you to do most of the work? The one I'm making for the kid with CP is like an ice cream cart with his wheelchair on front. So, maybe, you pedal in back and he pedals up front (and steers if he likes)... in a two or three wheeled variety.
How is his balance?
The cheapest, easiest solution- buy one of those adult tricycles and add a back rest. I think you can get them for $300 or even less used. Many of these things are designed to include an electric assist motor. Hand throttles would be cheaper than the automatic kind.
The problem with recumbents is that they can be hard to get started- you have to lift your feet and pedal hard and fast to get the balance. They require just a bit of explosive power at first even though the ride in general is very gentle.
I'm excited about this project! Where are you located?