Pedaling with Parkinson's - Trike Returns Him to the Trail
Eldon Olson has enjoyed an active life. He was an avid skier and
biker for over 35 years.
Then he was struck with Parkinson's disease.
"I could hardly walk," said 73-year-old retired insurance agent
from Buffalo. "When I checked into the Mayo Clinic three years ago
they saw parkinson's in my face. The most important thing the
doctors told me was to remain as active. The less you use your
legs, the less you will be able to use your legs."
He gave it a test ride and discovered peddling the Trike was
easier than walking.
"He came in looking for furniture and left with a bike," said
Hoigaards Sales Associate Linda Lemke. "We asked him if he wanted
to try it on the LRT trail behind our store, he loved it. It was
like a gift. He got his freedom back."
Olson was concerned he would get tired on the Trike and not be
able to return. Lemke and Hoigaards back shop found a battery
operated electric motor that would fit in a basket between the rear
The motor and battery cost about $600 and run for 20 miles
before needing to be recharged in a standard outlet. The motor can
drive the trike up to 23 mph.
Lemke said they have been several customers with physical
limitations going to recumbants.
"Recumbents reduce the balance issues because they are low to
the ground, so you can put your feet down. They are more
comfortable because there isn't the pressure on the hands and
you're pushing off the backrest rather than defying gravity."
Lemke also said recumbents are safer because people can look
around and they can't go over the handle bars.
She also noted recumbents use the large muscles of the legs more
efficiently. This is why Olson finds it easier peddle his recumbent
than to walk.
Olson has been riding his Trike on the paved city trails of
Buffalo. The third week of September he triked on the Heartland
Trail between Nevis and Dorset.
He pedaled the trike on his own until he came to a hill or
tired. He then pushed a lever on his handle bar and the motor took
over. He can move up to 12 mph with the motor.
"It feels so good to be back on the Heartland Trail again," said
Olson. "I love this trail, the scenery, the town and besides it so
easy to pedal."
Lemke said Hoigaards has outfitted customers limited by Multiple
Scorousis, strokes and even blindness.
A blind couple purchased two quadribents, which are two
recumbents joined together. They have their children steer and they
They have also outfitted recumbents with the gearing on one side
of the bike for stroke victims.
According to Lemke, recumbents are a way to make recreation more
Olson agrees, "This trike is like a gift," said Olson. "It feels
so good to be out on the trails again, enjoying the outdoors. I