Armando III

This morning, I was privileged to witness something very beautiful. Al Constable of the LISD Tech Center presented a custom built trike to Armando Jimenez and his father on behalf of the Spring 2010 Advanced Manufacturing class.

Armando, as you can see, is confined to a wheelchair, but that isn’t going to stop him from getting out on a bike.

This post is short on words, because, without wanting to sound overly trite, I honestly don’t know what to say. Bicycling is such a multifaceted thing, and I love everything about bikes. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that compares to the sense of freedom that comes with a bicycle. That sense of freedom was embodied this morning in the most profound way.

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots of the project:

The project took about a month, if I understand correctly. Unfortunately, only one of the students who worked on it was able to be present at the unveiling. The good news is that the reason the others couldn’t attend is because they were all working day jobs, a credit to the Tech Center.

Armando’s dad is in his sixties, and he hasn’t ridden a bike in twenty years. So the builders made sure to include a thumb-activated electric assist. (Man, I wanted desperately to hop on and give that thing a whirl!) In addition to a seat belt and leg strap, Armando’s seat also includes an adjustable footrest. The design is very smart.

The full photoset from today’s presentation (sans the “before” pictures provided by Al) is available on flikr.

I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time I was there.  I had already ridden my bike to campus this morning prior to the event. Then, of course, I rode to the Tech Center. Afterward, I rode downtown to grab some lunch before riding back to campus for the afternoon. By the time I get home this evening, I’ll have commuted around 22 miles by bike. Being part of Armando’s bike debut this morning and witnessing his inaugural ride made every mile that much sweeter. It was one of those times when I almost wished I had errands to run all day.

Ride on, Armando.

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2 responses to “Armando III

  1. Awesome bike! A great example of adapting bikes to get people out and riding – even with a little electric assist! Do you mind if I link to your article in my blog? I think i need to write up a post about the tech center, and we may have to make a trip up there some time with our little adaptive bike rider/future scientist/builder.

    • Thanks for your interest, Samantha. By all means, please link. That would be terrific. Of course, you’ll need to explain to your readers that I’ve been a total loser of late when it come to updating the blog. In any event, if you make it to our little corner of the planet, be sure to bring your bike so you can join us for a ride.