About four months ago, Namine was measured at Emery’s for a new adaptive bike. She had outgrown her old hand-crank bike some time ago, and we wanted to get her a new one.
It’s no secret that Namine has posed unique engineering challenges before. The team at Marquette that built her basketball wheelchair spent a semester doing so, with close involvement from Namine to make it the best it could be for her.
I mention this because Emery’s had told us to expect Namine’s new bike some time in late July. This would have given her plenty of time left in the Summer to enjoy her new bike, with the added bonus of having arrived shortly after her birthday.
Seeing as it’s now nearing the end of September, that obviously didn’t happen. As we met with an engineer today to discuss Namine’s new bike, he explained that the positioning of Namine’s legs posed some difficulties.
Most of those engineering problems are solved now. All that was left was to have Namine try out the bike and give her opinion on the seat, have some measurements taken, and possibly take it out for a test ride.
In building the bike’s seat, they added more cushion to where Namine’s legs rest, which resulted in them being raised up. As it turned out, this made her feet get a little bit in the way of the handlebars as Namine pedaled. She was still able to ride and steer, but her preference — which they deferred to — was to have her legs level.
Namine’s left knee doesn’t bend, which is one of the results of her having Caudal Regression Syndrome. As a result, it dangles off the seat, having no support or room to rest. This has happened in wheelchairs she’s outgrown, which has caused her pain for long times in her chair. Even though her leg dangles, however, it didn’t seem to bother her, even on a test ride outside on the sidewalk.
As for the ride itself, Namine took the bike out of the bike shop and down the sidewalk for a bit. Since she wasn’t used to steering with this bike, turns took a bit of effort on her part. Once she had a good stretch in front of her, though, she was able to cut loose and go fast.
Namine enjoyed the brief time with her new bike, but it’s not quite done yet. But we’re looking forward to when we get that call saying it’s ready to be picked up!