To help with the selection of the best cycle for the rider, Theraplay has developed the following guide to assist you in selecting the most appropriate model. This guide is designed to provide you with information on the key points to consider before purchasing a cycle and to give you an idea of the correct size of cycle. Theraplay offers a free assessment service where riders can try out our range of cycles. This enables us to get a better understanding of the rider and how the cycle will be used.
There are a number of key factors to consider before deciding upon a cycle selection for a rider, our trained cycle specialists use the following list to provide guidance on the best option for safe cycling.
Stage 1. The Rider.
a. Will the rider pedal the cycle or will the rider need assistance?
- If the rider has complex seating needs or is unable to propel the cycle by foot or hand then a Companion Cycle may be appropriate. These allow the an adult/carer to be the primary source of pedalling and steering. (Product suggestion - Companion Cycle)
b. Will the cycle be propelled by hand or by foot?
- Theraplay cycles have the option of a low gear ratio which makes them very easy to propel. If a rider is unable to pedal a cycle by foot then a Handcycle might be appropriate if the rider has limited use of the lower limbs. This maybe because of limited movement in joints or through spinal injury or if the rider has Spina Bifida, SMA or other condition which limits the use of lower limbs. (Product suggestion - Tri-Lo Handcycle)
The following chart provides information on the Theraplay Hand Cycles.
If the cycle is to be propelled by foot pedals then there are several other considerations to take into account.
Stage 2. The Environment
c. Is the cycle for use in a playground or a managed area or will it be used on pathways or public areas?
- If the cycle is going to be used in public areas it should be fiited with two forms of braking to slow or stop the cycle. If the cycle is for use in a playground or adventure play area then a cycle does not need to be fitted with two brakes. Most cycles for this type of use are simple direct drive cycles with the pedals fitted to the front wheel. The TUFF Cycle range is designed for this type of environment.
d. Where will the cycle be used, in the local area or will it need to be transported for use in parks or other open areas?
- Theraplay cycles have the option of adding a frame foding mechanism which allows them to be folded or separated into two sections for easier transportation.
Stage 3. The Rider
e. Is the rider independently mobile or a buggy/wheelchair user?
- If the rider is independently mobile then cycles such as a Therapy Cycle or the TRACER Models may provide the most enjoyable cycling experience.
f. Does the rider have a good range of movement in their joints?
- If the rider has a restricted range of movement in either or both legs then it may be appropriate to consider the crank length to reduce the pedalling arc, or to look at the Hand Cycle or Companion Cycle options.
g. How aware of danger is the rider?
- Does the rider have the cognative understanding of when to brake and how to steer the cycle independently. If the rider needs assistance with steering and/or braking then a parental control system can be added to the tricycle. The parent/carer can then guide the cycle when necessary and slow the cycle if required.
- If the rider is very active then a QUAD Cycle or a TRACER Model may be appropriate due to their enhanced stability.
h. Will the rider transfer onto the cycle independently or will they be assisted?
- It is possible to make transfer onto the cycles easier by adding Quick Release Pedals and a Swivel Seat Mechanism to enable easier access for a standing transfer. These accessories can also be very useful with some forms of mobile hoists.
i. What level of seating support will be required by the rider?
- can the rider sit independently without support: If the rider requires extra support to sit comfortably and safely on the saddle then a Back/Trunk support should be added. Theraplay offers two main types, the style will depend upon the level of support required by the rider.
- Is the rider able to grip a grab bar: The ability to hold the handlebar allows the rider to steer the cycle but it also offers the rider greater posural control for sitting on the cycle. Theraplay offers a variety of adjustable handlebar types which can be adjusted to the optimum position for the rider. In addition, hand supports can be added to make it easier for the rider to maintain their grip on the handlebars, these items are called Handlebar Mits.
- can the rider maintain good head control: Head supports can be added to the cycles to assist the rider in maintaining their head position.
- Will the rider be able to maintain their foot position on the pedals: There are several options available to assist the rider in maintaining their foot position on the pedals. The level of support needed will determine which type of support is required.
j. Is the rider likely to fatigue quickly when cycling?
- There are several gear types available as well as several sizes of gear ratio. If the rider is likely to fatigue quickly then an Option Drive Gear is a useful accessory as this means the rider can sit on the cycle and pushed whilst resting.
The following guide provides dimensions and suggested rider heights for each model.