Rick, at Freebird Custom Motorcycles sent me this story. Very Inspiring. A must read.
“Hello Cyril, I just thought you might be interested in this contraption I just finished putting together for a handicapped person in Connecticut. He is paralyzed from the waist down from a motorcycle accident and was told he could never ride again…HAA I say to that defeatist thinking!!! He contacted me to build him his dream machine so he could fly in the wind once more. A little history so you know this wasn’t my first rodeo, if you know what I mean. It was about 29 years ago my wife and I were riding down in Austin, TX on my 1940 rigid frame H-D flathead 80 when this 16 year old kid decided to run a red light in front of us.
We T-boned that Camero at 35 mph which sent us flying about 30 feet through the air. I got knocked out after landing on my head [they said it caused “dain-brammage” but I can’t tell if it affected me none] along with a shattered ankle, torn ligaments, lacerations, etc. My wife only had a bruise on her ankle but since I had the passenger pegs mounted high on the rear frame rail it snapped her back at the base of her ribcage, severing the spinal cord. Needless to say her legs don’t work no more. Well, between her determination and my mechanical ability she has been riding a 77 Shovelhead trike, all hand controlled, for about 26 years now. I get contacted from people all over the country with special needs issues, and I do my best to help them to overcome the challenges they face. This project had all the bells and whistles, and the customer can take off on a ride anytime he desires with no assistance from anyone, isn’t that what it is all about?
I started out with a 2008 Harley-Davidson 96 c.i., six-speed Electra Glide, put an independent suspension system on it [the best set-up available], Corvette wheels, installed a reverse in the transmission, modified the floorboards with stainless steel and the Velcro straps to hold his feet in place,and with the electric shifting and the dual braking system on the handlebars it took care of the operational aspect of the machine. He wanted to conceal his wheelchair while he was riding so I ordered just the box for a pull-behind motorcycle trailer and narrowed it 6 inches and shortened it 17 inches, along with lining it inside so it wouldn’t scratch up his chair [those wheelchairs cost about 5 grand you know]. He also wanted to take his wife along occasionally so the box is on firetruck shelf rollers with a lick’em and stick’em seat for her, I rode back there myself and it’s pretty comfy.
He said he would like a kickbutt stereo so I installed a Sony system with I-pod and Sirius satellite radio and HogTune speakers, all controlled on the handlebars of course. The special sissy-bar was made for transfers onto the trike. He specified blue with silver flames, but I added the black ghost flames and white highlights to give it a little more zing! Speaking of bling the chrome trim and truck lug nut covers helped also. The only trouble is he likes to twist the grip with his enthusiasm, I guess he has some lost time to catch up on. I am grateful to be able to help others out in this respect and perhaps if you publish this others may see there is hope for them also. Even if all they seek is advice have them contact me at Freebird Custom Motorcycles 605-359-2876 out here in the wilds of South Dakota. My website is pretty entertaining also if I do say so myself, you be the judge. Thank you” Rick, at Freebird Custom Motorcycles