new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Best bike for someone with a vision impairment  RSS feed

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Chip:

I have kind of a wonky question for you.

I have monocular vision and the sight in my remaining eye is not all that great. I have enjoyed biking on and off my whole life. Now, due to the monocular mess (it gets worse - I actually have double vision in that eye too), I find my sense of balance is out of whack. Plus, I dare say I should not be out biking "unsupervised". I've tried an adult tricycle - but I actually managed to fall off that (permission to laugh - I actually thought it was pretty funny when it happened).

Are there tandem bikes that would be safe for me? Maybe a side-by-side situation? Do you have recommendations?

Phlummoxed in Phoenix.
Jen
 
Chip Haynes
Author
Posts: 53
Location: Clearwater, Florida
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey there, Jennifer!

First off, let me say that I will NOT laugh at anyone dumping a trike. It CAN be done! (I've done it!) I tell people that trikes do fall over, but in all new and interesting ways. What I've learned with my trike is that the best way to go through a turn is with the inside pedal down , and all of your weight on that low inside pedal. That really helps a lot. That said, I need to tell you that I converted my trike to a fixed gear so I have reverse, so there's no way to go through the turns "inside pedal down", as they turn constantly. I go through turns SLOW, and that works, too.

For those of you out there pondering the sight problem as you read this thread, try riding your bicycle with your eyes closed. It only takes a second or so for all of the warning bells and whistles to go off in your head in the Balance Department.

Now then, about tandems: Yes, if you have a partner for the front seat, tandems work very well for people with sight issues, however: It does take teamwork and practice before you two get smooth, and the learning curve can be awkward, if not steep. (And you run the risk of any low speed fall going viral on the web. Fair warning there.) Don't expect to just grab and go. Tandems are complex. And bloody fast. They have a very high stall speed, so there's no going slow on them. They fly. I covered 100 miles in 5 1/2 hours on one once, including a lnice unch break. Wahoo.
And don't get a cheap one. Tandems come in two varieties: Cheap boat anchors and pricey works of art. You want the work of art. We're talking several thousand dollars here for a nice Santana, Burley, Coomotion, or whatever. If you can rent or borrow one for a few test rides (NOT JUST ONE), do so, but know that cheap tandems are a lousy ride. Also, I found that tandems with unlinked cranks (that allow the pedals to be unsynchonized) are very, very odd. I didn't care for it at all. Linked and aligned (matched) cranks seems the easiest and most comfortable to me, but there are certainly other opinions out there about that.
No matter what tandem you get, communication is the key to success. The pilot need to tell you EVERYTHING: When to pedal, when to coast, that you are turning, stopping, braking, EVERYTHING. No surprises! (It takes practice.)

Do let me know what happens next!

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chip Haynes wrote: First off, let me say that I will NOT laugh at anyone dumping a trike. It CAN be done! (I've done it!) I tell people that trikes do fall over, but in all new and interesting ways.


Thanks for that - I was CONVINCED that I was the only one who'd ever managed to dump a trike!

Chip Haynes wrote: For those of you out there pondering the sight problem as you read this thread, try riding your bicycle with your eyes closed. It only takes a second or so for all of the warning bells and whistles to go off in your head in the Balance Department.


That's a good way of describing it. And I'll add that with one eye with double-vision (and low vision) - you also get this blurry kaleidoscopic thing going on. Add any kind of motion to the situation and it gets really, really ....confusing. TOO MUCH INPUT.

Chip Haynes wrote: Now then, about tandems: Yes, if you have a partner for the front seat, tandems work very well for people with sight issues, however: It does take teamwork and practice before you two get smooth, and the learning curve can be awkward, if not steep. (And you run the risk of any low speed fall going viral on the web. Fair warning there.) Don't expect to just grab and go. Tandems are complex. And bloody fast.


So I'm thinking that one-behind-the-other tandems are probably not the ideal choice for me - mostly due to speed (too fast would freak me out) and steep learning curve. Is there another option?

Chip Haynes wrote: Do let me know what happens next!


I'm setting up my youtube channel now! Just have to figure out if I mount the camera to the bike, or get an entourage to follow me with cameras....

 
Chip Haynes
Author
Posts: 53
Location: Clearwater, Florida
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So maybe a quadracycle like the Rhodes Car? No balance issues there, and no crazy speed issues. There are a number of side-by-side trikes and quads on the market these days. Some are set up more for tourist rentals, but there are a few out there designed for private use. (LIke the Rhodes.) My Momma was right: You gotta shop around. That's part of the fun!
 
Austin Shackles
Posts: 23
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you make the trike the right way round it's harder to fall off it. Not impossible, though, you can fall off anything if you try.

I make trikes with 2 wheels at the front (layout popularly called "tadpole") - properly done and with the correct steering geometry they're easier to corner; it's easier to transfer weight to the inside, and the geometry/physics is more favourable, or putting it the other way, less favourable to it tipping.

They're easier to get decent brakes onto - mine have 2x 160mm disc brakes on the front wheels plus rear brake. There's a downside of course, they can't be bought for a couple hundred bucks or less like a (crappy) bike can. It's also quite difficult/expensive to ship them to, for example, the US.

I also make a Tandem Trike, on the same basis although the front axle is set back some compared with a solo. That's even more expensive to make and ship...
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks guys.

A friend of mine told me that tadpoles were easier to balance, etc. Good to get confirmation on that!

I note that a local park has some quadricycles - I'll have to go (with a friend) and try one out.

Cost is, however, always the big downfall for these more specialized bikes....alas.
 
Chip Haynes
Author
Posts: 53
Location: Clearwater, Florida
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While it's true that quality don't come cheap, money spent on a better bike always pays off. I have bicycles in my collection that go back decades, and the good ones are still rideable. Well, so are the cheap ones, but the good ones still ride better. Bicycles are not an expense. They are an investment in both the machine and your health, and both are worth the coin. Rolls Royce says it best: "The quality remains when the price is forgotten." Well made bikes are much the same.
 
Austin Shackles
Posts: 23
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The thing that's really unfortunate is that there are so many very cheap bikes - being in the trade I see some of these: people bring them because something broke, they're heavy, have poor quality components which often can't be repaired. They are really more or less a throw-away item, but the downside is that they aren't pleasant to ride. People by a mountain bike for a hundred bucks and try riding it on the road, and it's slow, heavy and draggy so they get put off. If they worked out what riding they wanted to do and bought a much better bike, they would have a much better experience, rather than thinking that it's all too much effort for too little reward.

You don't have to spend $5000 however, unless you're into seriously high quality custom build. Unfortunately, my trikes, for example, are more or less all hand made, to order - I don't have the setup, funds or order book to do anything else - which inevitably makes them expensive, and as a result I don't sell more than a few a year which means the business really isn't viable. Same's true for other bespoke trike and bike makers, as far as I hear - a lot do it only as a sideline to a more conventional trade in mass market stuff.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
174
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trust me, I understand the expense and the quality of these bikes. I don't doubt that they are worth it!
 
Not so fast naughty spawn! I want you to know about
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!