If paralyzed in an accident, would you still want to experience the joy of cycling? For one quadriplegic adventurer, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Christopher J. Wenner was paralyzed in a diving accident at the age of 17. Becoming quadriplegic didn’t stop him from seeking adventure. Always a bike lover, Chris had trouble finding a bike that he could use after his accident.
So he decided to make one.
Wenner contacted Outrider USA, an electric bike company based in North Carolina, to create the Horizon, an adaptive-use bike designed for the off-road.
Outrider USA founders Jesse Lee, Tom Ausherman, and Daniel Rhyne have launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $100k for the first production run of the bike. At time of publication, they have raised $53,000 with 10 days to go.
“The driving mission behind the Horizon trike is simple: Just because an individual has a physical disability doesn’t mean they don’t still crave the adventure and freedom of riding a bike,” said Jesse Lee, Outrider Co-Founder. “The feedback on the prototypes has been incredibly positive.”
Designed with Wenner, a Ph.D. who contacted Outrider to build the vehicle a year ago, the trike is now undergoing tests. “The feeling of riding this is exactly like I remember riding my mountain bike before my injury,” said Wenner.
The Horizon adapts to the abilities of the rider — from riders with full leg and arm function to riders with limited function such as paraplegics and quadriplegics.
It is possible to ride the Horizon with full function of your arms and legs; with left hand/arm only; with right hand/arm only; with upper body function but limited leg function; with upper body function but no leg function; with limited function in both your arms and legs (you’ll need some amount of arm function for steering, braking and throttle).
Other features include: Foot pedals or hand pedals; standard hand controls or adapted-use hand controls (tri-pin); actuated seat (rising) to make getting in and out of the bike easier; fold down handlebars for side entry; three wheels and low center of gravity make balancing simple.
Electric assist: Twist the throttle when you want a boost, pedal when you want, or do both together. The electric motor works in both forward and reverse and can reach speeds up to 30mph.
The Outrider is made in the USA and all trikes are hand assembled in Fletcher, North Carolina.
Visit the Outrider USA Kickstarter campaign to find out more. —Sean McCoy