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Elise’s Handlebar

Elise is three and a half years old. She loves being active and enjoys swimming, reading and especially riding her pink and blue bicycle.

Elise has a limb difference affecting her left arm which is shorter than her right arm. This was making riding her bike uncomfortable as she couldn’t quite reach the handlebar. Elise’s mum contacted TAD to see if anything could be done. TAD volunteer and former engineer Bill visited the family to assess the problem.

“I watched Elise ride her bike and saw that she would ride in two different ways. One way was to sit up straight and only use one hand to steer the bike. This gave her a lack of control over the bike. The second was to lean forward and to hold the handlebar which looked awkward and uncomfortable. Sitting at this angle she didn’t have enough strength to steer,” explains Bill.

Bill measured the bike and the distance between Elise’s hand and the handlebar. After trialling some ideas Bill fitted the bike with a handlebar extension. He made the extension from steel tubing and sized it to meet Elise’s hand at a comfortable distance. He welded this extension to the original handlebar and painted it white to match the rest of the handlebar frame, then neatly finished it with a bright blue grip to match the colour of the bike frame. The extension can be cut off when Elise outgrows the bike so it will return to its original state.

Bill visited with the bike and made sure Elise was comfortable and able to use the bike well.

For Elise’s mum Helen, it was great to see Elise riding not only by herself but with her older sister.

“The idea is simple but it works so well. Bill is very personable and worked really well with the kids. It’s a dream come true for us to see Elise riding so well.”

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Solve-TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.