---- CUSTOMIZED ADAPTATION --------- PURPOSE: To provide a custom adapted tag-along bike for a child with spastic diplegia. The child has his own custom adapted bike but when on outings with his family he found it difficult to keep up and cycle long distances. Since he was too large for a baby seat a tag-along adaptation appeared to be a good solution. A prototype was created that was compatible with components used to modify FREEDOM WHEEL bikes, such as the U-frame, high-riser bar, and postural supports. The adaption started with a commercially available single-wheel tag-along, which is normally clamped onto the seat post of the towing bike. However, the single-wheel design was not ideal for the child’s safety or needs; therefore, the tag-along was converted to add two rear wheels for added stability, while making it easy to store and transport. Another wheel was purchased from the company that made the tag-along, and two quick release hubs that are normally used for wheelchair wheels. The existing hubs were removed from the tag-along wheels and replaced with the new quick-release hubs.
During the next stage, a stable mounting for the wheels was created by creating a bracket to go in between the two sections of the frame where the wheel would normally go, to hold the frame stable and fix the dimension. A U-frame was then attached to the bike frame, which is normally used to mount the outrigger wheels and high-riser bar on FREEDOM WHEELS bikes. The high-riser bar and postural supports can be transferred to the child’s bike as needed. Three struts were mounted on each side of the U-frame: one to hold a tube to receive the quick-release axle and wheel hub; one which runs from the wheel to the top of the U-frame; and one which runs from the wheel to the center of the bike frame near the pedals. This provides triangular support to the wheels in both vertical and horizontal dimensions. The wheels can be removed for transport without needing any tools, by pushing a button in the center of the wheel. With the removal of a spring pin, each axle and struts can then be folded upwards to create a narrow unit that will fit on a bike rack.
The original tag-along was a solid coupling but this would not work well with a two-wheel tag-along design. A universal joint was added to allow the towing bike to lean when the tag-along could not. The pedals were modified to make fixed footrests with foot cups, and Velcro-fastening straps. This adaptation was necessary because the flexible towing point meant that there could be an accident if the towing bike stopped and the tag-along rider kept pedaling. After testing the tag-along out there were a few glitches that needed to be tweaked. The footrests were rubbing the towing bike’s back wheel when turning. Additionally, when the front wheel of the towing bike became lower than the back wheel, the gap between the tag-along and the bike was reduced. Using the old arm as a template, a new arm was created that was 100 millimeters longer, and welded to the fittings from the original onto the new one. TITLE: Jye Hits the Road. JOURNAL: TAD Journal. REF: Volume 30, Number 1, January 2010: p. 8-10. PAGES: 4 (including cover).