Blog Watching: making the most of cycling in Holland – with a disability

Photo: Holland-Cycling.com

Hilary Staples was born in the UK but moved to the Netherlands with her tricycle when she was young. She writes about cycling in the Netherlands along with her husband on Holland Cycling. Here’s their entry about making the most of bikes when you have a disability.

Do you have a disability or other health problems? Cycling might still be possible with the right type of bike. Thanks to innovative technology, more bikes are coming on the market for cyclists who can’t ride a regular bike. What options are there and where in Holland can you rent them?

Types of bike

Do you have a disability or other health problems? This does not necessarily mean you can’t enjoy going out for a cycle ride. With the right type of bike that suits your needs, more might be possible than you think. Thanks to innovative technology more suitable bikes are coming on the market – heavy, clumsy invalid bikes are luckily a thing of the past! Here are some options that are available in Holland.

Standard bikes

The e-bike has become ever more popular in recent years. Initially, e-bikes were aimed at elderly cyclists who would otherwise give up cycling. Now e-bikes are widely used by cyclists who appreciate a bit of pedal assistance – one of the most common reasons being knee problems or simply a decline in physical condition.

Tandems are much used by cyclists with a vision impairment. They are also great for cyclists with a learning disability for whom road safety is an issue. The family tandem is suitable for cycling with younger children: the child sits in front, while the parent controls the bike from the back seat.

Recumbents are ideal for all cyclists who hate a sore bum! Designed to be more aerodynamic than a standard bike, recumbents are also often used by cyclists that have problems with their wrists, hands, arms, shoulders or neck. There is a wide range of recumbents available from various Dutch manufacturers. The recumbent trike can be a good solution for cyclists who have suffered a spinal cord injury or stroke.

Special needs bikes

Photo: Holland-Cycling.com

Trikes are aimed at cyclists who for whatever reason need more stability. There is a wide variety of models, with and without electric pedal assistance. Some come with a regular bike saddle, others with a seat that offers back support.

Handbikes are aimed at cyclists who can’t use their legs to pedal. There is a variety of models – most with three wheels – with and without pedal assistance.

Wheelchair handbikes allow you to turn your wheelchair into a handbike. There is a variety of models, with and without electric assistance.

Duo bikes (or buddy bikes) are aimed at cyclists who are not able to partake in traffic on their own. There is a variety of models, with and without electric pedal assistance. Some come with a regular bike saddle, others with a seat that offers back support and makes mounting the bike more easy.

Wheelchair transport bikes are aimed at transporting wheelchair users by bike. There is a variety of models, with and without electric pedal assistance. Some have an inbuilt wheelchair, others are designed to transport the user in his or her own wheelchair.

Renting a standard bike

E-bikes and tandems are widely available at regular bike rental companies, especially in popular tourist areas. You will find more information on how bike rental works and how to find a bike rental company on our bicycle rental page.

Recumbent bikes and trikes can only be rented at specialised bike rental companies or shops that usually also sell recumbents. You will find an overview of rental companies on ligfiets.net, a Dutch website for recumbent enthusiasts (only partly in English).

Renting a special needs bike

There are only a few bike rental companies in Holland that offer special needs bikes. Usually the number of bikes they have will be limited, so it’s best to book your bike in advance. Here is an overview of the bike rental companies we have found:

Van Raam, the leading Dutch manufacturer of special needs bikes has an overview of locations where you can rent their bikes. Many of the locations are care homes that want the special needs bikes to be put to good use by renting them to non-residents. Take care to contact a care home well in advance, as renting out bikes may not be a regular business for them and you may have to make arrangements about how and when to collect it.

You can read the original post on Holland Cycling.

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