It’s the time of year when we often reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to future prospects. Last year was very special for our growing family as we became grandparents for the first time to baby Amber who is adorable.
Support for Triple Tread is also growing and developments to the trike design will continue into the beginning of this year. We have partnerships with academic researchers and trike manufacture specialists, who will be working hard with us in order to bring Triple Tread to market.
We look forward to the European Bike Show in Germany later in the year when we can get chance to meet more of our Triple Tread followers.
I attempted to do a small task the other day; it should have taken a minute but instead took several hours! I was using a cordless power drill to act as a simple screwdriver. The battery ran out and the drill felt heavy, solid and motionless. The job then came to a frustrating, sudden halt. This analogy relates exactly to the way my legs feel when neurological fatigue sets in and they refuse to budge. Consequently I end up on the floor in a heap. I can’t just slot in a new set of Duracells and instead I have to stop, rest and recharge everything very, very slowly!
I have been testing out the new prototype trike this week and Triple Tread has become my saviour. Not least because I can get around without falling! I feel free on my trike and good about myself, as I am achieving independence. Not having to rely on my wife to hold me up while I try to drag these two dead weights along beneath me is a fantastic feeling.
The steering mechanism means that I am not in danger of tipping the trike when I corner and I feel safe on uneven roads. My legs are weak though and I am getting to know my cycling distance limits. The pedalling motion is so much better for me than trying to walk anywhere as I have foot drop. I swing my leg out to the side in order to move forwards and I try to get it high enough so not to trip me up. My posture is affected by these gait difficulties so I end up swaying around like I have had ten pints and usually end up crawling!
I don’t have to worry about my lack of balance while I am pedalling along on the trike. The rotational movement uses different muscles than when walking. At the moment, I am researching an electric motor assistance option to add to Triple Tread, so that we can press a “get me home button” for the return journey! I think it will also come in handy for those steep hills too.
Since securing I.P. we have been busy seeking funding pathways to manufacture the Triple Tread trike. It takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to put a bid together for any type of grant, which can be a very long process. Our enthusiasm for getting this product to market keeps us motivated and we won’t be disheartened by this journey taking longer than anticipated. We will keep learning by our experiences along the way. When your business ethic is concerned with trying to make a positive difference to people’s lives then your daily tasks are worthwhile.
When we set up the company we were warned that a husband and wife partnership in business could be disastrous. It makes me happy to see the joy that our venture is bringing to Mark and I think that we make a good team up to now. He uses time management strategies to help manage his M.S. symptoms when working. We do have separate working zones though, so we have a little breathing space between us sometimes!
We are extremely pleased to have the support from a Professor of Clinical Exercise Physiology and we look forward to hopefully working together to conduct applied research to contribute to the improvement of healthcare interventions and services for people with a lack of balance, such as Multiple Sclerosis.
There has been particular interest from athletes at the British Cycling team who are keen to test how well the trike corners on the competitive event tracks. We have been enjoying supporting the achievements of the paracyclists and we wish them all good luck in the forthcoming events throughout the summer.
Reflection – MS Life 2014
The public response to the Triple Tread was extremely positive and many people got involved in our market research. It was a joy to watch the immense pleasure that riding the trike gave to people. Their comments included: “I have not been on a bike for so many years – it feels great!” “I have never been able to ride a bike but I can do this – when can I buy one?” “I love the look of it – It’s like a real bike not a boring tricycle.” Friends and family were taking photos of their loved ones riding the trike. They were so happy for them and their achievements and it became obvious to us how overwhelming it was for those that had not been able to ride a bike since their MS symptoms had denied them this pleasure.
We had hoped that people would appreciate a different form of trike, but we certainly didn’t anticipate such an emotional response. It was a proud moment for Mark especially to share his journey with fellow MSers and to also share in their excitement about the Triple Tread coming to market. It was special to be able to meet and chat with our supporters that have been following us on twitter and facebook and we are very grateful to them.
The atmosphere at the MS Life show was welcoming, warm and inviting. People were able to sit and chat about their experiences with us at our stand. We enjoyed sharing information about the trike with everybody and meeting others with the same needs to be as independent as they can be. People of all ages were keen to have a go from 7 to 70 years young! We made connections with people from around the world, from Ireland to Dubai! They were keen to help us promote this product far and wide.
The development of the trike has taken different turns including a name change. Following the results of market research the Cassowary became the Triple Tread Trike. www.tripletread.com Cassowary seemed appropriate because of its distinctive features. The large, spongy crest protrudes from the top of its head making it look so different from other birds. The trike is also distinctive in its look and capabilities compared to other tricycles on the market today. The name Triple Tread however has derived from the configuration of its wheels and we are pleased with the decision to make the change.
We feel very proud and honoured to have the talented artist, animator and author Angie Taylor www.angietaylor.co.uk to design the logo for Triple Tread. She is very well respected in the media industry and in my opinion the most creative. The logo design is not literal and instead it plays with bold, strong shapes to portray the message so cleverly. The use of the tetrahedron represents the cyclist in motion on the trike. I particularly like the molecular geometric shape as it demonstrates the stability, freshness and excitement of the prospect of riding a unique tricycle that we have developed for extraordinary people.
The Triple Tread Trike will be launched at MS Life.
The idea to design the Triple Tread was born out of a personal need for a cycle that could help the inventor travel longer distances without having to rely on a carer, a motor car or a wheelchair. Mark’s M.S. symptoms are affecting his walking ability and balance. He has pushed the boundaries to enable himself and thousands of others around the world to own a new type of tricycle that is unique to the mobility market. No worries of tipping over when mounting kerbs etc. as the TTTrike will manoeuvre over terrain using its specialist steering mechanisms.
The Triple Tread is at prototype stage at the moment. Pictures and film footage will be available on this site as soon as I.P. is fully registered in the next few weeks. Market research will take place at MS Life at Manchester Central (GMex) on 26th & 27th April 2014 when we look forward to sharing our new trike with the public. It will be an exciting opportunity for the inventor to meet with others like himself with the need for new mobility solutions. Mark will be in the active zone at the show and looks forward to listening to your ideas and opinions.
The distant memory of cycling together on a tandem in Toronto, Canada is one to treasure because it was so much fun. We had no idea then that this trip would be the last time we went out on a bike ride together. When MS strikes it is devastating when it deprives you of your freedom, which is very difficult for us to come to terms with.
Hiking up and rolling down hills, chasing aimlessly through crisp autumn leaves, jumping the waves at the beach and running through the snow are no longer ventures we can share in. These little outings that my husband and I used to take for granted throughout the seasons may sound trivial and border on being childish at our age, I will admit! But we do really miss being out and about and free to explore in whichever direction we choose. We are determined now that cycling will return back in our lives and give us the freedom we are desperately craving..
We were inspired recently by reading the thought provoking book ‘Keeping Balance’ written by Katherine Cuthbert which reinforces the psychological value of having an active life. Mark wants a bike that he feels proud to ride and safe to balance on. The tricycles on the market today do not inspire him at all, so we came up with a more cool design that fits the bill. The Cassowary Trike is being developed at the moment and will be the first project for MPH Support. We are proud and excited to be setting up our company with the aim to give mobility aids more style.