The challenge is best outlined in the original request from the boy’s mother.
“I was wondering if Remap might be able to enhance my 15 year old son Tom’s trike. He has recently got the go ahead to get a Theraplay Tracer Trike (pictured below) which will give him a lot of fun and much needed rehabilitation after major leg surgery. However, our use of the trike will be frustratingly limited by the environment because, whilst Tom has lots of energy and enthusiasm for cycling, his physical and learning disabilities mean that he’s not safe to be out of arm’s reach except in the most controlled of situations. We have previously had carer-controlled tricycles but he is simply too strong and too fast for us and we can’t keep up. Ideally, I’d like to explore either a hop-on buggy-board type arrangement, rather like a husky sled with wheels – or a tag along arrangement that would allow us to tackle more exciting terrain (by helping him on the tough bits) and keep him and others safe by taking control when needed (either by some braking arrangement or by simply jumping off as a human anchor!) It would need to be detachable for the times when he is safe to ride alone and to make transporting it possible.“
After discussing her requirements with the client and considering a wide range of ideas, the client was still happiest with the idea of a trailer with brakes. It was decided to use 16’’ wheels after a discussion with a local bicycle shop owner. By using these wheels it would be able to utilise standard rim brakes and the weight of the person on the rear would help with traction when braking.
It was impossible to use the brakes on the tricycle as these were fitted to the front of the tricycle which was removable. There was was no facility for brakes on the two rear wheels.
A small child’s bicycle was purchased to provide the wheels and associated brake equipment. A simple crude wooden frame was mocked-up to demonstrate the principle of the design to the client and to determine the correct dimensions.
This agreement having been reached, the basic frame was manufactured from tube and welded together. A hand rail for the “passenger” is provided and fitted with the brake levers operating on the trailer wheels. A simple pin fixing and a 10mm screw knob hold the trailer in place. The trailer plate hooks over a plate that is permanently fixed to the trike, thus the trailer can be quickly detached when not being used and for transport purposes.
The family can now take their son out into the local park secure in the knowledge that he can use the tricycle in a safe and controlled manner. Once again, the words of the Mother tell the story.
“Despite having cerebral palsy and epilepsy, our son Tom has a real ‘need for speed ‘ but his learning difficulty makes it hard for him to perceive danger. He was a little hesitant initially but now he’s got used to it, he’s a beast!! It’s great for strengthening his muscles after earlier surgery and it gives him a real sense of agency when out and about. It also means we are more able to go places as a family.“