Bob has taken my dream and fulfilled it

By Lesley (Verified buyer)

As a brittle asthmatic any exercise can be hazardous. Even the most gentle of indoor sport is fraught with danger, when you try and move with neuropathy. Combine the two and you’re a disaster waiting to happen!

I’d tried using a self- propelled wheelchair, but breathing issues made it so difficult, I tried a motorised scooter. Not to be, I became colder and colder and no matter how wrapped up I was, I still became ill. Special adaptations to the car made driving possible again.  I tried different exercise groups ending up at ”Sit down gym”. I needed the social interaction and the physical exercise. Again I was hospitalised. Doing a work out in a cold gym with other ill people …

Peter, my husband, took early retirement in March 2018. I’d been ill and hospitalised seven times the previous year, most incorporating a visit to the High Dependency Unit or Intensive Care Unit or both!  I wanted Peter to have a life other than being my care giver.

 “Go out and cycle, take some photos and show me where you have been!”

This way, I thought, two of his interests would be combined outside the house and we could share them together when he came home. Yet Peter wouldn’t go exploring. Ten minutes to the supermarket and another ten back; he felt duty bound to be close by me. So at last having free time, fresh with the excitement of retirement, we travelled into Edinburgh to All Ability Cycling where we met up with David Glover.  We tried various cycles and discovered a semi recumbent tricycle was right up my street. I managed to ride around some of Edinburgh’s many hidden green routes, Peter on a mountain bike accompanying me. We went to Lochore Meadows, Fife and tried out their range of bikes, but the one David showed us was the winner!

That particular machine was too expensive for us to buy, but at least by travelling the hour and a half to Edinburgh city centre I could have an occasional ride, traffic and weather permitting!

We started searching for trikes online, trikes with a semi recumbent position and preferably an engine assist. A company in Gloucestershire replied to an email, as did the bike manufacturer from Holland . Sadly the Dutch company told us what we already knew, the price was prohibitive.

Whilst in Devizes, visiting our son and his wife, we arranged a visit with the company. Bob, from Tomcat, in Gloucester, arrived in a white van. We found ourselves feeling very much at ease with him and assured that he understood my health concerns, knew he would do his best for my safety.

Outside, an amazing machine was unloaded from the van. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I sat on the “trike”.

Well honestly I couldn’t.

So the seat was moved down and around! I actually sat down, and the seat pivoted round securely. Then I could sit and lift my lazy leg over the very low bar and position it onto the footplate.

Except I couldn’t quite reach the footplate.  A few moments of adjusting later and I was seated comfortably on a trike with my feet on the pedal plates!

 It was a bit of a stretch to the handlebars, Bob soon fixed that, then off I went around the streets where I had never ventured before… independently!

What a sight! A grown woman smiling broadly, with two men running crazily behind her! What would you have thought, answers on a postcard!

I was able to turn the trike surprisingly easily and even get up a gentle slope. My only fear, would I be able to ride it up the hills where we lived in Scotland?

“No problem we’ll get an assist sorted for you!” Bob replied.

  I chose a metallic lime green, my lean Green Cycling machine!

A couple of months later and the white van drew up in Scotland.

The lean green Cycling Machine had arrived. Bob explained how to put it together; no it wasn’t a build your own! We’d thought on how would we get it into the car?  Yes, Bob said he could sort it! He did. It breaks into two parts, plus the seat.

So the guys from Gloucester had outdone themselves.

Bob had, from a single visit, constructed a trike where I could sit comfortably on a mesh seat, adjusted to my height, and enabled it to twist around so I could lift my leg over the low crossbar! The pedals have straps on, so I can literally tie my feet into place so that when I want to look at the scenery; or even traffic, I can safely do so without my feet falling off the pedals! (Which they are very prone to doing!) I can use the handlebars with ease and even change through the 5 gears, enabling me to get up quite steep hills. The battery pack sits at the rear of the bike behind the saddle and I can switch it on or off whilst cycling now! (I couldn’t when I first got it; I needed it on all the time!)There’s even an option for a hill start, very useful in Scotland and Yorkshire!

Peter and I have become fairly well known along the Fife coastal route, lots of people have taken photos of the trike, after all isn’t it only kids who ride trikes??

Financially, the trike was expensive, but then what price do you put on health? I’ve been able to lose weight, get outside and meet people.

Discover new routes, yes I have managed to go off piste and help plough a farmer’s field (the trike didn’t overturn, it is beautifully balanced! ) but I didn’t concentrate on steering ! The only problem I have had is when the cycle track has been too narrow to accommodate the three wheels; and then an alternative route was explained to me!

Bob’s Tomcat may have been designed originally for his stepson and other children with special needs. Now however, he‘s realised what some people are scared to admit; we are all still young at heart and want to have fun!

Older people lose confidence, especially in today’s traffic, but many would happily take to tri-cycling for fitness, or environmental reasons, especially on the increasing number of off road lanes. Certainly for pleasure and to help regain health, after strokes or other debilitating illnesses, I would definitely recommend tri-cycling on an adult Silver bullet.

Bob has taken my dream and fulfilled it.

I can put my trike in the car and drive to wherever the fancy takes me, then offload and build. (Five minutes maximum!) Peter and I can then both go out on our bikes together, even the grandchildren enjoy riding with Grandma, (some more literally than others!)

My trike is in a trendy colour. I use plastic reusable ties to fasten my two walking sticks on board so I can stop and allow others to sit on and admire. Even the local high school kids stopped to look, then gave me high fives as I cycled past the school at home time! An experience I’ll never forget!

Hospital long stays …not a single one, fun and laughter… all the way!

Peter does get more out of his cycle rides these days, pulling me out of ploughed fields, opening gates to allow me to ride through, without stopping, ever the gentleman! We’ve both been drenched in rain, and mud, bitten by flying insects but my lean green cycling machine has brought us into fresh conversations with people around Scotland and England.

 Many of these folks, have been despondent of ever being able to do anything independently again. Happily when we have parted company, they know that if they contact “TOMCAT “, if it’s possible Bob will fix it for them to ride again!