Adaptive, electric mountain bike brings thrill of trails to riders with special needs
Mobility & Transport
The design was based on a pro mountain biker’s requirements after she was injured
Spotted: Former pro mountain biker Lorraine Truong was injured in 2015 and spent years searching for a bike that could get her back on the trails. Engineer Alex Desmond, having been inspired by a friend’s effort to start riding again after an illness, built a prototype of what is now the Orange Phase AD3 eMTB. The initial design was exactly what Truong was looking for, and the adaptive, three-wheeled mountain bike with bucket seat is now available from the UK’s Orange Bikes.
Each bike is modular, which allows for full personalisation depending on individual ability and preferences. Importantly, the bike’s width is narrower than most other adaptive cycles, making it possible to ride regular mountain bike trails. The bucket seat makes it easier for riders to get on and off the bike and provides essential stability for riders who don’t use their legs. Riders can choose between the full-throttle electric or pedal-assist modes.
Truong’s bike features an aluminum frame, hydraulic disc brakes and rear shocks, along with other features, all of which add up to a substantial 30 kilograms of weight. The bike can be built to be much lighter, which is part of the importance of the modularity of the design. The two front wheels make it easier for riders to stay upright when turning and maneuvering around obstacles.
Making outdoor play more accessible is an important design challenge and is being met in a number of innovative ways. In India, free playgrounds are made from scrap tyres repurposed into brightly coloured installations. In the United States, an augmented reality tool lets basketball players map out a court in disused space.
Written by: Keely Khoury
Explore more: Architecture and Design | Sustainability
20th October 2021