Bicycle for boy with Downs Syndrome

Project  / Project number: DB-099-18  /  Status:

The challenge

Theo is a 9 year old boy with limited capacity to control his movements and a lack of awareness of danger.  He wanted to ride a bicycle like other children.  The challenge was to modify a bicycle of suitable size so he could learn to ride it, whilst at the same time, giving his parents control of his actions.

The solution

The bicycle was fitted with commercially available stabilizers suitable for its size so Theo could learn to ride in the usual way.   To enable the parents to control the cycle movements a pivoting control arm was attached to the back of the bicycle, as is the norm when small children are learning to ride.  This was clamped to the seat stem via a pivot and incorporated a hand grip with a brake lever at the free end.  The brake lever was wired in parallel to the rear wheel brake control, so the parent could stop the cycle if necessary by preventing wheel rotation and pedal action.  To stop the arm swinging about if it was desired to let Theo ride freely a coil spring was slotted over the pivot assembly to provide a centralizing force.  The control handle extension can be removed from the pivot assembly (as Zimmer frame feet are adjusted) and the parallel brake linkage can be disconnected if and when appropriate.

The benefit

Theo can now safely learn to ride a bicycle.  His parents have control of its speed and the need to stop.   The control can be removed if his ability, or the location, make it safe for him to ride freely.

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