I miss riding a bike, I used to ride a mountain bike to work everyday and obviously back and I would ride for pleasure over at Hadleigh castle which was then the venue for the 2012 Olympic mountain bike events. Nothing could beat getting on my bike after a days work and I would pass all my colleagues who drove and were now stuck in traffic.
When I first fell ill in 1996 I tried to get back to riding but it was no use and so I sold my beloved Claude Butler mountain bike as I couldn’t bear to see it, it was a reminder of all that was happening.
In 2013 I got another bike, it wasn’t your standard everyday two wheeled affair, in fact it has only one wheel. Now don’t panic, I’m not trying to learn to unicycle because even I am not that stupid, I used to be but not now. This is a handbike that attaches to the front of my wheelchair, a tube is fixed on the bars under the seat and the main part is a quick attachment by offering the bike part at an angle another twisting until it’s upright and the caster wheels of the wheelchair are lifted clear of the ground, the bike is locked into place with a lever mechanism and a quick lock lever.
Not my chair.
It has a hub in the centre of the wheel that is battery driven and you can utilise this to assist you on gradients or to gain speed, its also handy if like me you don’t know how to pace yourself because then you can get back home on battery power alone once you have worn yourself out.
I admit to also using it on battery alone when having a bad day, I use it to go to the shops when I am feeling so rough that it’s either that or stay at home.
I know it’s not the same as riding a standard bike but it’s still good fun, it takes a little getting used to because of the fact it’s powered by hand and you certainly get a good work out. There are three gears on the chain set which is a set up like you would find on a standard cycle and a brake that is efficient even at a good rate of knots. The battery lifts out of the front carrier to be charged or you could leave it in situ. There is a key to turn the power supply on and then it’s just a case of pushing the lever on the hand grip to engage the electric hub.
The best thing is that it felt so good to go out on a bike ride with my wife, nothing beats getting out for some fresh air and some exercise and I’m hoping that this summer I will drop some more weight. We are lucky to have a good network of cycle paths that lead out into the countryside, the park or down to the seafront and that is where the battery is handy, I would never make it back up the hill from there! I have even cycled to our local B&Q and just ridden straight in on battery power and round the store, after all its just like a mobility scooter on electric.
I have however considered swapping for a recumbent handbike.
Check out http://www.teamhybrid.co.uk/
Until next time!