Van Raam produces uniquely special needs bicycles and specializes in tricycles, transport bikes, scooterbikes, wheelchair bikes, tandem bikes, double rider bikes, and low step trough bikes (also known as comfortbikes). Each model is also available as an electric bike (Pedelec).
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Stoffel and Nele both have office jobs that require them to sit for long periods of time. Stoffel has had a visual handicap since birth and has difficulty keeping his balance. Nele suffers from poor circulation in her legs due to a congenital vascular malformation. Read more about Stoffel and Nele's story about their Fun2Go buddy bike here.
Stoffel: "I am Stoffel, a vital forty-year-old who likes to go out in my free time. My lovely wife is Nele, she is 37 years old. She likes to go out into nature and is an enthusiastic birdwatcher. We have been together for 9 years and married for almost 3. We live in the city centre of Ostend (Belgium).
I have been visually impaired since birth. My vision is limited to what is in front of my face. Sometimes I also have difficulty keeping my balance. If I want to get around on my own, I can only do so at walking pace or by public transport.”
Nele: "Due to a congenital vascular malformation, I suffer from poor circulation in my legs. To take care of the consequences of my condition, it is extra important for me to exercise a lot. This way I can easily prevent ailments and discomforts. We both have office jobs, so we actually sit down far too often."
Stoffel: "Because I could not keep my balance well on a 'normal' bike, I was given a tricycle when I was a child. Due to the limitation of my vision, cycling on my own on the public roads proved to be very dangerous.
In my teens, we tried it on a tandem. A sturdy buddy was sought. The buddy had the rather uncomfortable task of keeping the bicycle balanced for two adults. Because I was sitting at the back of the bike, I could only see the back of the rider. Much of the experience was lost that way.
A three-wheel tandem was no comfort because of my limited field of vision. For me and my buddies, the enthusiasm for cycling slipped away over the years.”
Nele: "I used to cycle on a normal bicycle. Since I got a car and a driving licence, my bicycle was unfortunately used far too little. Cycling together seemed an unattainable ideal for a long time."
"A random picture on the internet brought us, by chance, to Van Raam's Fun2Go. Wouldn't a side-by-side tandem be something for us? We had to wait and see.Sceptical yet curious, we booked ourselves a test ride with a Fun2Go at a Van Raam known bike rental company Hoegen Fietsverhuur in Nunspeet on holiday in the Netherlands in the summer of 2020. That first joint bicycle ride through the beautiful nature of the 'Hoge Venen' changed our lives forever."
Stoffel: "I had not ridden a bicycle for more than fifteen years. My first feelings of fear and unaccustomedness were quickly replaced by a wonderful childlike amazement. At the age of 40, as a co-rider on the Fun2Go, I felt really safe on a bicycle for the first time in my life."
Nele: "To my surprise and relief, I was able to cycle very comfortably when riding the Fun2Go. Having a bike with electric pedal assistance gave me a lot of comfort right away."
"We bought our Van Raam electric buddy bike in the middle of last year from the 'Goed' homecare shop. Because we wanted to leave nothing to chance, we also planned a test ride in the showroom of Van Raam in Varsseveld to test all the possibilities and options of the Fun2Go ourselves.
On August 26, 2021, we were able to pick up our own bicycle in Roeselare. We were so happy that we immediately cycled 36 kilometres home with it.
We paid for most of it ourselves. Fortunately, through the social service of the ‘Christelijke Mutualiteit’ (health insurer in Belgium), we were able to apply for a financial contribution from the Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
Important in the composition of our Fun2Go is that the cycling autonomy of Stoffel as the co-rider is optimised.”
Stoffel: "Eight gears on both sides of the Fun2Go enable me as a co-rider to independently determine the intensity of the cycling. The gears are mounted on the bar at the front so that I cannot unintentionally shift the gear by a short uncontrolled movement. I myself made sure that I can follow the ride on the e-bike app by bringing my smartphone on the handlebar closer to my face."
Nele: "The comfort XL chairs give our legs more freedom of movement. The backrest is more relaxed. This arrangement feels good for us as sporty cyclists."
"We go shopping, to the library, to the cinema, etc. by bike. On our days off, we make day trips along beautiful paved cycle routes in Belgium and the Netherlands. Sometimes we cover distances of up to 70 kilometres together. We hope to be able to transport our Fun2Go with our own van soon.
We stand out a bit and almost daily we get questions like:
‘Is that for two people?'
‘Where did you buy it?'
‘Did you make that bike yourself?'
‘Electric? Cool! That could be something for someone I know...’
We give the Fun2Go buddy bike a 9.5!
Stoffel & Nele - Oostende (Belgium)
Bike: Fun2Go buddy bike
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