Marion and Rob Mitchell first came across Tomcat SNI Ltd when Rob was 8/9 years old. Bob Griffin, MD, and chief designer at Tomcat was just beginning to set up his now thriving business. With the help and support of Bob, Rob who was unable to ride any other tricycle took to the Tomcat trike like a fish in water! It was a success. Fast forward twenty years and Marion and Rob contacted Tomcat again, but this time for a completely different reason…
Back in December 2021 Tomcat set up a “name a trike” competition for their new design collaboration with Wheels For All (formerly known as Cycling Projects) The new product is a hand propelled version of their bestselling trike, the Tomcat Dragon. Designs were finalised and passed on to the production team in early January 2022, and the idea of letting our customers decide the name was born.
In April 2022 at the National Cycle Show in London the winning name was announced and to Marion and Rob’s surprise their name was chosen – Thunderbolt! On hearing the news Marion was so happy and excited for Rob, knowing that he would have the chance to get out and about easier. It took a while for Tomcat to deliver an alternative trike to Rob, as the Thunderbolt was simply not suitable for him. It was decided that the hand propelled trike would be donated to Wheels For All, and Rob would be given a Tomcat Fizz trike that suited his needs much better.
In October 2022, Nazia White and Kevin Barry (One of Tomcat’s assessors) arrived at Marion’s house in West Sussex, winning trike in tow and let’s just say there were plenty of smiling faces to be seen. Once Rob was on the trike and ready to roll, he took off with Kevin down the road, and within seconds he was loving it!

Can you give a brief overview about your journey in finding a suitable trike for Rob. How easy has it been for you?

I have had a Tomcat trike for Rob before, when he was about 8/9 years old, he outgrew it in his teenage years and I never got round to getting him another.

How did you find the Tomcat service and assessment process?

Very easy, discussed over the telephone.

Why did you choose the trike or additional trike accessory?

I didn’t choose it, I won it.

How has the trike enabled Rob to access the outdoors?

It has enabled Rob to go out and see the world from a different perspective and he has so much fun.

What advice would you give to others who think that finding a suitable trike for themselves is going to be difficult, if not impossible?

There are many organisations offering funding for trikes these days, so if you think your child would love a trike, I would say go for it! I would always recommend Tomcat trikes as the best because they are designed by someone who understands disability issues and children/adult needs.


How did you find about the competition?

I saw it advertised online.

Why did you choose the winning name?

I was trying to think what I would call the trikes. I looked up at the sky and as it was a very grey I thought to myself, it is going to thunder any minute. So instantly I thought Thunder and Lightning. Then I thought thunderbolt would be better. So I submitted Thunderbolt and Lightning.

How did you feel when you heard you won a trike?

I was so excited and so happy for Rob, never having won such a prize before. The odd raffle prize here and there but nothing like this.

How will the winning trike benefit your son?

It will allow him to have fun and give his legs exercise and allow us quality family time together.


When you have a child with additional needs, it isn’t easy to just go into a shop and purchase for example: a bike, as we all know bikes in bikes shops are one size fits all with no allowances for anything like support. So, you have to look far and beyond for something suitable for your child. Anything aimed at those with additional needs is going to be more expensive, so parents automatically think they are out of reach. But there are funding organisations out there to help. So if your child wants to cycle, I would suggest going to a local cycling charity and trying out different ones (our local one is Cycall in Worthing, West Sussex, who have loads of different sized Tomcat trikes for all ages and is run by an amazing couple Martine and Rob Walters and lots of volunteers). Talk to Tomcat for advice and they can help advise where you might go for funding.