79-year-old husband built a wheelchair bike for his wife to enjoy outdoors together


Wheelchair bike of Kevin Harvey

 

79-year-old Kevin Harvey modified his used electric bike by anchoring and welding a wheelchair in front of the bike’s frame, so he and his wife Beverley can enjoy the outdoors together. The 89-year-old Beverley has dementia, and Kevin thought having her in front of him through his wheelchair bike design and during their rides would be easier rather than pushing her wheelchair up hills and terrains of New Plymouth’s paths in New Zealand. The wheelchair bike features also a seatbelt for Beverley, so she can be strapped and secured during the ride, disk brakes, and curved front forks that refrain the wheelchair from being launched during a turn. 

images courtesy of Kevin Harvey
images courtesy of Kevin Harvey

 

 

Altering the electric bike

 

Kevin tells RNZ that the wheelchair bike has a full fold-up wheelchair in the front –  but it cannot fold up now, he shares – and the electric bike has the front stem altered to make it more back-facing rather than forward. He also says that the forks go down and connect to a bottom rail between the two parts that stick out on the wheelchair. The satisfaction Kevin feels for his invention has no match for the contentment he sees on his wife’s face as they bike up and down the coasts around their neighborhood with Beverley soaking in the stillness and sun-covered landscapes.

beverley enjoying the view
beverley enjoying the view

 

 

Documenting the wheelchair bike

 

The couple has drawn attraction from passersby and loved ones who comment both on the creatives of the wheelchair bike design and the care and love Kevin obviously invests in Beverley. Kevin occasionally documents their journey when he uploads their photos on his Facebook page, and his captions steal the limelight along with the way he just photographs Beverley instead of them together. In one of the pictures, Kevin writes that his time with Beverley outdoors in his wheelchair bike is the only bike ride Kevin can get these days, gifting each other moments of life to treasure.

it took kevin months before he could finish his creation
it took kevin months before he could finish his creation

 

 

Limited speed of the wheelchair bike

 

Kevin also shares that the wheelchair bike has a limited speed of around 20km/h as its maximum not because the modified electric bike, which can run up to 45km/h before the refurbishment, cannot handle the speed, but because Beverely does not like going fast. It took Kevin months before they could use the wheelchair bike, and even then, he repairs and maintains it to make sure it will work on their next outdoor ride. At times, he would experience an issue with the bike, a nudge to the inventor that it is time to repair it.

kevin modified his old electric bike to create his invention
kevin modified his old electric bike to create his invention

 

 

Repairs and maintenance

 

Once, Kevin posted that they were riding around the block with the newly installed handbrake to stop the wheelchair from rolling forward when he noticed that the wheelchair bike needed a smaller chain wheel the weather the hill ahead of them. He did it, incorporated it, and continued their bike rides. When Beverley had his first ride along the walkway of their neighborhood, Kevin grabbed his phone and took a picture. The stony landscape blended with the sky-blue horizon, a clear and great day for the duo to step out of their home and hop on the wheelchair bike. The photo (see the header image of this article) shows Beverley in his neon-orange vest, wearing a gleeful smile as she waves at a passerby.

kevin still repairs, maintains, and tweaks his modification
kevin still repairs, maintains, and tweaks his modification

kevin and beverley harvey
kevin and beverley harvey

 

 

project info:

 

name: Wheelchair Bike

designer: Kevin Harvey

matthew burgos | designboom

jul 26, 2022



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