A form of independent physio for Sophie

Sophie has owned a bespoke built Tomcat trike since she was five years old. Her parents realised the benefits of cycling to Sophie as she has Downs Syndrome, struggles with celiac disease, nystagmus and is partially sighted. Now, aged 11 Sophie and her family integrate the joys of cycling into their day-to-day life – this is how they’ve achieved this and created their #tomcatstory

Planning ahead

Sophie’s parents, Sue and Carl have always enjoyed the outdoors. They wanted to continue their passion for hiking, walking and cycling after the arrival of their children Sophie and Ben. They also have an older brother Josh who now has a son with his girlfriend.

When Sophie & Ben were younger Sue and Carl took them away on camping holidays in a tent; the car jam-packed with all the equipment Sophie needed including an oxygen cylinder, medicines and all! The family did have the support of grandparents whilst camping but essentially Sophie’s parents made provisions for her so that they were able to enjoy ‘normal’ day-to-day activities. Sue recalls,

“We took everything with us whilst camping – high chairs, bikes, tents, toys and any equipment we needed.  We now have a caravan which helps tremendously with Sophie’s needs. It was a little easier taking her on a bike when she was younger as we used a child carrier that is until Sophie outgrew it and it was no longer safe to have her on the back of our bikes.”

Trikes for disabled children

It was at this point that Sophie’s parents entered the world of ‘disabled bikes and trikes’ for children and their search for something suitable began. Susan explained,

“We googled ‘trikes for disabled children’ and the first company that came up on the search were Tomcat. We specifically looked at the provisions we could get for Sophie; after a very thorough assessment from a Tomcat assessor at our home, we decided on a trailer trike – best of both worlds. Sophie could access independent physio whilst cycling to school and we could enjoy the benefits of cycling together as a family. ”

The Tomcat trailer trike is designed as a trailer accessory that can quickly convert a trike to a trailer, for towing behind a carer’s bike. The Dual Axle™ and Two Piece Frame™ innovations are essential features of the design.

Teach her to ride a bike safely

Sophie’s additional needs meant that the trike served functionally for the family and more importantly it would be used regularly as a fun mode of transport.

“When we first bought Sophie’s Tomcat trike”, continued Sue, “we went to Wales Cornwall and Devon a lot on family trips. The large wide open paths allowed us to teach Sophie how to ride the trike safely. It wasn’t long before she could ride the trike independently in a confident manner.

We noted a difference in Sophie straight away, her confidence increased as well as her self esteem. The trike really provided her with the feel good factor, with no barriers.”

Go the distance

The trailer trike allows Sophie to cycle distances with the family that perhaps she may not have been able to do on her own. Sue says;

“Ben, Sophie’s younger brother, does grumble a little if she’s on the trailer trike, but she is peddling thanks to the drive system, and moving her legs whilst her dad’s cycling.”

The family has been able to go out on 12 mile plus bike rides so they can go the distance with cycling, having picnics along the way which Sophie & Ben love to do! The family dog is also included in the family bike rides and when the distance gets a bit too much Oscar is also towed in a child’s trailer, much to the amusement of Sophie!

Sue & Carl conclude;

“When we’re due the next upgrade it isn’t a question of if we go to Tomcat it’s when we go to Tomcat – the service and the whole experience has been nothing but positive.”