CASE STUDY: Complex cycle adaptation enables man with reduced mobility to enjoy an active life
Adaptive cycling specialist Quest recently completed delivery of one of its most complex recumbent cycles to date – a specially adapted ICE Adventure STEPS.
Quest uses its ‘Q-tuned’ process to make cycling possible for those who face obstacles as they try to achieve their goals.
Despite being born with no arms and one leg, Paul Fogarty, aged 40 from Telford, has refused to let it stop him living as independently as possible. From the age of three, Paul has used a prosthetic leg to help him walk and maintain his independence. This enabled him to attend mainstream primary and secondary school.
While at secondary school, Paul used an upright trike to get to school and this also allowed him to mix with his friends and get to the pub once he had turned 18. However, as Paul established his career, got married and started a family, the need for a bike became less as he also had a car.
It was during the first lockdown in 2020 that Paul started to think about getting back on a bike.
He explains: “I had reached that stage where I was probably eating too much, spending all day sat at a desk and not getting enough exercise, so I decided it was time to change this, but I had no idea if anyone could help me achieve this.”
By chance, one of Paul’s old friends Tom Yendell, who is a foot and mouth artist, had posted some images on Facebook of him riding a trike. Paul thought to himself: “If Tom can ride a bike, I must be able to” and started researching online.
Little did Paul realise that the answer was literally on his doorstep in the form of Shifnal-based Quest.
“When I came across Quest, I could not believe my luck and immediately gave them a call and arranged to meet with Managing Director Rob Henshaw,” he comments.
Paul’s requirements were some of the most complex Rob and the team had encountered but they love a challenge.
Following an initial assessment, Rob and his colleagues sat down and started by breaking Paul’s needs into five key elements: pedalling, steering, braking, gearing and safety. After looking at various models, they went for a modified ICE Adventure E6100 recumbent with a Shimano STEPS E-Assist system. This means Paul can either pedal himself or use the electric motor.
Rob discusses some of the work that went into making Paul’s cycling dream become a reality: “The electric motor uses sensor inputs from each side so we had to counter that by asking Paul to wear a special shoe with a cleat on his good side so that he can put power through the pedals on the down and up stroke which tricks the system into thinking there are two legs at work.
“For pedalling, we needed something to simulate so we initially set up a harness which fitted around Paul’s shoulders with loops around the steering uprights which enables him to steer by twisting his shoulders. It wasn’t great but it allowed us to show Paul that things were possible. We later used an articulated camera mount system to try and ascertain the rough positioning of the steering uprights so that we could then fabricate something.
“Once we had some uprights proximal to Pauls shoulders, we could then look at controls such as braking and gear change as well as him being able to get a purchase on the steering with the extremities he had to work with.”
The gearing is automatic (Shimano Di2) with a manual override, which is operated by buttons as Paul has sufficient sensitivity and dexterity to push these to select the gear mode.
Continues Rob: “When it came to the braking system, we agreed with Paul not to have too many functions on the same side of the body as this would ensure braking could be more spontaneous and not be confused with steering and gear functions. We had to get the right positions for everything to be within reach but at the same time make getting on and off the bike easy and to ensure Paul was as comfortable as possible, we installed additional padding to ensure there were no potential high spots or materials which would rub Pauls stumps.
“Paul signals his manoeuvres through a wireless control operating LED indicators. As Paul is unable to use his right leg for pedalling, we created a support for his prosthetic that still allowed him to push against a stirrup to help him brace his body when going around corners.”
In total, it took four consultations and several additional visits to conclude everything. Rob says that COVID-19 restrictions made everything more difficult and that the cycling industry suffered very long delays for components as a result of the pandemic.
“The results are fantastic though, and to see what Paul is accomplishing now is just phenomenal,” adds Rob. “There has been a lot of experimentation and a lot of patience on Paul’s part, however, we all agreed that we had reduced the learning curve and will be able to use what we have learned to help others with similar needs.”
The ICE Adventure is available in two sizes and colours: the standard ‘Adventure’ and the ‘Adventure HD’, which sports a wider frame. All trikes in the ICE Adventure range are built on an optimised ICE frame featuring Compact Flat Twist Fold, No Brake Steer, Rider Positioning System, and wide-range gearing.
Most ICE Trikes models can now be fitted with the Shimano STEPS E-Assist System, which ensures users no longer have to worry about getting home purely on their own steam. There are two versions available: the E6100 – which Paul has – features a 250w electric motor, 60Nm torque, 418Wh or 504Wh battery, Bluetooth connectivity and optional automatic rear hub gear shifting. Or there is the more powerful E8000, which has a 250w electric motor, 70Nm torque, 418Wh or 504Wh battery, Bluetooth connectivity and optional XT Di2 electronic gear shifting.
Paul has had his ICE recumbent bike for eight months and loves it.
Paul concludes: “I cannot explain the feeling of freedom I now have thanks to Rob and the amazing guys at Quest. Since taking delivery at the end of last year, I have already done over 1500 miles and that has included the recent Royal British Legion Poppy Ride where I raised over £1000.
“I knew I was going to be a challenge for Rob but the end result is more than I could have ever hoped for. From the very first phone call, Rob has been brilliant and everyone at Quest shares his passion for helping people with reduced mobility still enjoy an active life.
“If anyone thinks riding a bike is not possible, I would urge them to speak to Rob as if I can do it, anyone can.”
Paul posts regular updates about his cycling adventures on his Facebook page titled ‘3 wheels 1 leg’.