Spinal Cord Injury Community

Choosing an Adaptive Mountain Bike

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
04/04/22  1:29 PM PST
Adaptive Mountain Bikes

The Latest Off-Road Cycling Equipment

For many years I longed to return to the winding trails and swooping dirt roads amongst the hills. I would sulk, dirt side, in my wheelchair as I watched friends pedal off on their mountain bikes for an afternoon ride. I dreamt of the day that I too could join them and kick up some dust, to feel the freedom of mountain biking once again.

It was mid-fall 2012 as I rolled down a polished cement aisle at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a beastly recumbent bike turning circles for an audience. The massive knobby tires screeched to a stop when I wheeled myself right in front of the rider, too giddy with excitement to hold back my questions. I learned that the bike was called the “Stinger”, hand-built by spinal cord injured fabricator Jake O’Connor of Reactive Adaptions in Crested Butte, Colorado. He primarily built custom hand cycles for paraplegics and amputees but decided to experiment with a recumbent design for fun. To make a long story short, I left the expo that day with that prototype bike (the only one of its kind at the time) in the back of my van.

I immediately took to the trails, romping and skidding my way through the dirt and the mud, up and over rocks and bushes. The ten-year-old inside of me was set loose again to explore the outdoors.

The bike is so unique that even today, every time I ride I am asked questions, “Who built it?” “Where can you ride it?” Where can I buy one?” “How much does it cost?” – All fair questions that at one time I had no sufficient answer.

However, NOW my bike is not as anomalous as it once was. There are a variety of ingeniously designed adaptive off-road cycles and hand cycles on the market for nearly all abilities. Plus, with the advent of electric assist technology, every rider can go longer and much further. I highly recommend e-assist!

 

Here is a list of companies for you to choose from:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Azub (Recumbent Trikes) – azub.eu

 

  • High Power Cycles (HPC – Electric Assist) – hpcbikes.com

 

There are more manufacturers out there for other types of bikes, but this list is specific to off-road adaptive cycling. Stay tuned for another blog about on-road adventure riding.

Enjoy the ride,

Aaron

 

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