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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 09-04-10, 06:58 PM   #1
November
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Dahon Boardwalk and Parkinson's

My father-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson's a couple of years back and has steadily lost motor control since then even with daily trips to the gym for Pilates and physically taking care of himself. Last year I started taking him on rides down the MUP with him riding a spare beach cruiser. That was fine until he started falling off the trail. He has lost his sense of balance and really misses riding a bike, so I let him test ride my Raleigh Twenty to see if that's any better. We went to a parking lot and he had no problems at all. I think the problems arise when he has to stay on a specific path (sidewalk, MUP, etc). Anyway, today I was able to score him a new Dahon Boardwalk S1 at Performance for $179 which is a darn good price on these. I brought it home to him and suggested we ride in the street which has very light traffic. Instead he heads for the sidewalk where he travelled 20 yards, stopped and fell over. No balance. I could tell he was embarrassed so I thought it was a good opportunity to go over the folding procedure for the bike. I am very impressed with how this bike folds. We'll try riding again on Monday.

Conclusions:

1) For the price the Dahon is a fantastic bike for pootling along (not for getting out of the saddle and hammering). Build quality is very good and the fold is easy and fairly small.

2) Parkinson's is a real b**ch, but he's doing everything he can to remain active and positive.


Here is a shot of our folding family:

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Old 09-04-10, 07:18 PM   #2
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You, and your father-in-law are both going well beyond what most folks in similar situations would do. Congratulations to both of you.

(My last surviving uncle has Parkinson's - it's advanced and he is only alive due to a feeding tube. It's sad.)

If, and when, I get to the point I can't ride my several folders, I plan to switch over to something like a Catrike. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catrike

I tried out one last year at a Portland, OR bike show. It was fast and fun. Not a folder, but an idea.

Lou
(S1 owner, too!)
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Old 09-04-10, 07:31 PM   #3
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I have the same bike. He would benefit from Ergon grips because it will allow him to gain more control and take some vibrations away from his hand. Glad to hear it is working out.
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Old 09-04-10, 09:22 PM   #4
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Have you ever thought of getting him a trike? I'm sorry but I don't think his balance is going to improve because you switched bikes. He's still falling.

An upright or recumbent trike is good for people with balance problems (temporary or not). The recumbents are very much in vogue and the average price reflects that. The upright trike not so much but they are less expensive. Trikes can come in 1, 3 & 7 speeds. There are also folding models. However, the more complete the fold, the more expensive it is.

Look into trikes, please. He may feel embarrassed with a trike but nothing is more embarrassing and dangerous than falling.

P.S. I ride a trike but I also ride a regular bike. However, under certain circumstances I will choose my trike over the bike, especially if I'm not feeling well.
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Old 09-04-10, 11:33 PM   #5
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Have you heard of the enormous benefit to parkinsons sufferers that do cycling? This was discovered very recently, how sufferers who can't draw a line on paper, after a single session, show unbelievable improvement. I think they discovered this here in Australia. So there is focus on doing tests. But they did find a universal effect.

So this may be something of great import to your dad.
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Old 09-05-10, 05:56 AM   #6
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Have you heard of the enormous benefit to parkinsons sufferers that do cycling? This was discovered very recently, how sufferers who can't draw a line on paper, after a single session, show unbelievable improvement. I think they discovered this here in Australia. So there is focus on doing tests. But they did find a universal effect.

So this may be something of great import to your dad.
Some reports claim Cleveland USA or Holland, but I can't find reliable links. I did read about this in the Tandem section on BF a while ago.

The Cleveland report is about taking Parkinson sufferers on Tandem bicycles. The Dutch report is about patients riding solo bikes. These activities would eliminate the problem of sudden weakness, stiffness of joints and loss of balance. The report claims a short term improvement of the patients mobility and temporary cessation of tremors etc.

This is not a cure, but it does give the patient an opportunity to some temporary return to "normality" and they seem to benefit from it physically and emotionally.

The tandem idea is IMHO is a brilliant idea because if the patient suddenly loses their balance or has weakness, the captain, (front rider), can take control and generally avert a fall.

OP
Have you considered a tandem? I have the pleasure of taking two blind guys tandem cycling, they love it and the effect it has on their personal outlook is far reaching. It gives them the opportunity to participate in an enjoyable activity they would not otherwise be able to do.

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Old 09-05-10, 11:54 AM   #7
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We design tandems for persons with special riding needs... these are not inexpensive due to the additional fabrication needed but these have allowed some people to get out and ride when solo riding was impossible.

Special braces and safety cages have allowed people with impaired balanced and weak or nearly non existant upper body strength to get out and ride.

I am quite sure that if I was not riding and able to maintain a good level of base conditioning I would often be reliant on using a walker to get around... as it is I need a cane for any trips on foot that are more than a few blocks and carry a folding one in my pannier.
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Old 09-05-10, 06:27 PM   #8
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We design tandems for persons with special riding needs... these are not inexpensive due to the additional fabrication needed but these have allowed some people to get out and ride when solo riding was impossible.

Special braces and safety cages have allowed people with impaired balanced and weak or nearly non existant upper body strength to get out and ride.

I am quite sure that if I was not riding and able to maintain a good level of base conditioning I would often be reliant on using a walker to get around... as it is I need a cane for any trips on foot that are more than a few blocks and carry a folding one in my pannier.
SixtyFiver,
Funny how both of us are/were able to ride but struggled to walk. I was in a wheelchair then crutches and had to learn to walk again after my accident, limped for a fair while too, but get me on the bike....and off I went!! I was worried that I couldn't ride in the drops because of my back injury, but there has been very little problem at all, only on the occasional serious climb.

I'm hoping in the future to offer more tandem riding for the blind and other people with disabilities. I'm considering a tandem like a Blinkey with stoker's recumbent front and captain's rear upright.
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Old 09-05-10, 06:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm afraid the money tree is all tapped out for now, but if his days on a 2-wheeler are truly over (we'll see over the next few weeks) I may have a sit-down with him and discuss investing in some sort of trike, recumbent or otherwise. The concern is that it must be easily transportable. How much do trikes cost these days?
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Old 09-05-10, 08:35 PM   #10
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Here's the most basic type of folding trike. Range is $340 to $450.

http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_s...ulttrikes.html

New Catrikes by comparison are $1,650 to $2,000 & likely less if you can find one that's used. I think there are also folders similar to the Catrike, but the price is probably even higher.

Lou
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