Dad Uses E-Bike Kit To Give His Daughter FreedomOctober 29, 2022
My name is Casey Evans and my daughter, Montel, was born with a very rare genetic syndrome, Cri-du-Chat Syndrome. Cri-du-chat is a chromosomal condition that results from a missing piece of chromosome 5. Montel’s condition like most cases of cri-du-chat was not inherited but a random event that happened during her early fetal development. As a result of the syndrome my daughter who is a few days from turning 21 years old has a developmental age of about 18 months. Montel is non-verbal and needs assistance with all everyday tasks (e.g. – bathing, eating, dressing, etc.). In addition, Montel has difficulty walking and will only walk approximately 100 yards before she sits on the ground and refuses to continue.
With Montel’s challenges we have struggled at times to find things she enjoys doing. However, there is one exception. We live in the beautiful foothills of Northern California (Yes I know this is a UK blog, but the story is worth sharing) and have discovered over the years that Montel loves to be outdoors hiking with us. We began by putting her in a jogging stroller and hiking the trails near where we live. As Montel grew older so did our creativity in ways to take her hiking.
At first we simply put a booster seat in the jogging stroller. But soon she outgrew that too. So we purchased a stroller that was supposedly for hiking but it proved to be an inadequate design for the aggressive trails that we liked to hike. So, we built a custom built oversized jogging stroller. But as Montel grew older and weighed more, pushing her up hills became too grueling and impractical. I realized the ideal would be an off-road stroller with power assistance
I knew engineering a stroller with electric motors, suspension system, disc brakes and all of the other features necessary to satisfy my requirements was way beyond my expertise. So I began grappling with how to get something like this done. I wondered if this would be a project engineering students could do. So I contacted several universities to see if perhaps engineering students would be able to help. To my joy and surprise I was contacted by California State University, Sacramento by a professor that felt confident that it was something his students could do for their senior mechanical engineering project.
Several months later I was contacted by the university and told there were 3 groups of engineering students interested in my project! I interviewed each group and selected a team of 4 students that struck me as very capable and bright young engineering students: Franky Lao, Viktor Palamaryuk, Christian Barcena and Allen Duong. We met regularly and discussed the project. They designed the stroller during the fall semester and fabricated it during the spring semester. There were times when it looked bleak, but at the end of the day they managed to make an amazing off-road special needs stroller for my daughter. One of the major turning points was when they figured out how to make the e-bike kit motors work in tandem on the rear wheels with one battery and one throttle.
Its a great use of an e-bike conversion kit that is for sure and a story that is sure to make most people smile, if not encourage them to add an e-bike kit to their own bikes.