Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

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Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby supportdad » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:26 pm

Hi, it's my first post and it needs a bit of background before I get to the important bits.

My son is quite severely autistic and coupled with this has low tone. This means that although he is quite strong (can ride up 40 or so km quite easily), his disability makes things difficult. He cannot press the shifter levers (or rotate a grip) strongly enough to change gears. We have to stick to constant gradients or I try to ride alongside and change the gears for him - as you can imagine prangs have happened. He loves the bush and would really enjoy riding on firetrails but they are very seldom level. My other son and I ride a lot (road and MTB) and it would be wonderful if Andrew could join us. He has done the Noosa Special Triathlon twice and we are doing it again in November. I want to build up a MTB style bike but want to incorporate a Shimano Alfine internal 11 gear hub with the DI2 electronic shifters. The internal geared hub for simplicity of design and damage resistance and the electronic shifters to allow him to change gear. I have tried Shimano Australia with limited success and the bike shops I contacted don't seem to want to get involved in finding out how to make it all happen. I need you lot to put your combined virtual heads together and help me work out how to do it. Perhaps recommendations for a bike shop (in Brisbane or in fact anywhere) who may be more helpful or just ideas how to do it myself. His existing bike is a Haro MTB with RockShox, Avid Juicy brakes and SRAM X5 gear.

On a very much related matter. Andrew (16) looks quite "normal" but does not react the same way as most of us do when we ride the bikepaths. I ride alongside and constantly need to remind him to "keep left", "brake, brake, for God's sake BRAKE", "watch out for the little old lady/man/twit/gaping hole etc". I feel that we need to give others a "heads up" that the approaching person perhaps needs a bit of space or may react slightly differently - just be more aware. I have thought of a "disabled" type flag but it seems ridiculous to use the universally known Blue Wheelchair sign when he is obviously not in a wheelchair - does anybody have any ideas or thoughts on suitable options.

Although these two matters affect my son directly, there are many more disbabled riders out there who would appreciate the electronic shifter option and may also want to have something that gets other riders to show more care.

Thanks in advance.
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by BNA » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:57 pm

BNA
 

Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby jaffaman » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:57 pm

It shouldn't be too hard to fit an alfine di2. Shimano Alfine Di2 kits are available online or you should be able to get a bike shop to get one in for you if you want.

The hardest bit is that you need to get the alfine built into a wheel, and you need to know what the angle is of your rear drop outs to get the right lock nut. There should be no reason you can't use your current bike if you are happy with it - just replace the rear wheel and the shifters. The alfine has disk options so should be able to use your existing discs.

I've never used them, but I think if you are looking for some help you might want to try Bikeology at Taringa, who do custom wheel building and can probably help you through the whole process.

As for the flag idea, not really sure. On paths etc I don't think it would help much what you had, most people won't see it or notice anyway. That said I can't see what is wrong with the idea of the blue and white wheelchair if you wanted to try something. Probably just a matter of trying a few things. One option could be using L plates like from a car? While your son isn't really a learner as such it might cause people to give a wider berth like it does on the road?
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby jaffaman » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:00 pm

Should have said while you could replace the crank, you wouldn't need to. Just remove the front dérailleur and put the chain on the middle ring would do it.
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby supportdad » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:17 am

Thanks, I haven't seen the kits and wasn't sure which parts I would need so started here. Will search for kits. I've built up wheels before so could probably do it - it was primarily the electronic side that I know zip all about. Thanks Grant
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby jaffaman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:29 pm

Bike24 has the kits, or at least the drop ones - should let you know what you get. I'm sure others do as well. The trick is to make sure you get the right version - flat bar or drop. Electronically it is just a matter of routing the wires and plugging it all together.
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby Rhubarb » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:58 pm

Something else to think about may be a tandem for recreational riding - get him to power along with you ;-) or if this doesn't suit his need for independence then maybe check out the NuVinci 360 or even Harmony which is the automatic of bicycle gear shifting.

NuVinci link here: http://www.fallbrooktech.com/cycling
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby ironhanglider » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:20 pm

NuVinci tandems also have independent coasting, which allows either rider to stop pedalling at any time.

something like this won't get others to show more care, but it means that they will be discourteous at a greater distance.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby DarrylH » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:09 pm

See if you have a local "Technical Aid for the Disabled". They are a volunteer organisation normally full of retired engineers who design/build things to assist the disabled in any way. Re communications - some of the bike mags have been advertising a blue tooth intercom system Cardo BK1 which is a bit expensive but may meet your requirements.
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby supportdad » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:30 pm

Thank you all. Excellent ideas and I will follow everything up.
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby jaffaman » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:47 pm

If you are thinking tandem then the semi-recumbent tandems may be worth a look. Both riders can see well, and the rear rider has steering and brake control - you could ride rear and your son may feel less like he is not doing much on something like this which he may on a normal tandem (if there is such a thing). Yes, a bit unusual, but worth a mention just in case it appealed. Don't know cost - the one I have included is a Taiwanese one which is supposed to be reasonable, but it is still not going to be cheap. The high end ones like this can be worth a fortune.

Image

http://www.flyingfurniture.com.au/shop/product/performer-family-tandem
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby supportdad » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:59 pm

A tandem is probably not the ideal bike with Andrew as his low tone means that he takes the easier physical option whenever it presents itself. Dad peddling will pretty much always be the easiest option. On his own bike, it's stick with the family or ..... (never had to work out an option here). It's also taught him balance and action reaction skills - break or crash!! Perhaps if we start longer rides, it may be an option. The other major problem is where to store the bloody thing. For a 4 person family with somewhere around 8 or 9 bikes and a full shed - taking over the garage will result in excomunication or a slow painful death.
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby supportdad » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:13 pm

I have decided to try a cheaper option than the Alfine 11 speed and Di2 route first to check how Andrew will handle things so have bought a NuVinci n360 hub and twist shifter kit from the USA (Total Au$298 incl delivery). When it arrives, I'll be building it up and will let you know how effective it is. The twist shifter has no gears marked but rather uses a cartoon cyclist on a flat road that morphs into a hill as you shift to increase cadence. This may be far easier for a disabled person to understand than numbers. Has anybody any experience with this hub - good bad or indifferent ??
Image
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby jaffaman » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:48 pm

Haven't used them but did look hard at them for a recent project. They have two automatic versions as well - you tell it what cadence you want and it changes the ratio constantly to maintain it. I'm not sure it is available except to manufacturers, but if the manual shift didn't work it might be worth contacting them direct to explain what you are doing and see if you can get one if their models of auto shifter.
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Re: Ideas and advice needed for disabled riders.

Postby supportdad » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:54 pm

I had seen stuff about the Harmony auto system and investigated a bit. It seems that the auto systems are primarily designed for the ebike market as the motor and bits adds weight and needs power. Perhaps as time goes by the weight of the motors and power needs will drop, also batteries will hopefully get smaller and lighter (and Clive Palmer will make Prime Minister and Julia Gillard will forgive everyone)
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