Bike program helps adapt recumbent bike for injured cyclist
When Red Wing resident Tristan English realized that his recumbent bike needed a highly specialized modification, he thought of MSC Southeast's Bicycle Design and Fabrication program. Tristan had been an avid cyclist biking thousands of miles a year, but following an injury, he had to switch to a recumbent bicycle.
Due to the injury, he was having trouble getting the recumbent bike moving from a standing stop. "Like a skateboard, I do a push off to get it rolling. But this bike was too low for me to get it moving,” he explained.
He needed the seat raised a few inches, which was quite a problem since the seat is mounted on a track that allows it to be moved forward and backwards along the bike frame. (It's not like a conventional bike seat on a post that can be moved up and down easily.)
Welding instructor Mike Ford and his bike students tackled the issue by disassembling the seat support system, templating four pieces of metal to expand the vertical rise, expertly welding them into position, and repainting the parts to match.
Mike Ford said, "No matter what we’re building, it has to be structurally sound, it has to be functional, and and it has to be right aesthetically."
On February 8, Tristan came back to pick up the bike and was thrilled with the result. Reider Litz, one of the program’s students, took time to set up the precise location of the seat. He also adjusted the bike’s pedals and Tristan’s bike shoes so that he could clip in more easily. Tristan took a test ride around the parking lot despite the February ice and snow and it looks like he'll be ready to hit the road this spring!
Watch a video of Tristan's test ride on Facebook
This cardboard template shows one of the four pieces of metal that were designed to fit the existing structure.
This photo shows the finished work, after the metal pieces were welded into position and painted.