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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I am a volunteer at Zonnehuisgroep Vlaardingen (a care institution). As a volunteer, I regularly cycle with the patients, these are mainly patients of the psychogeriatric department. I was already familiar with a duo bike and a rickshaw, but since a year we also have a VeloPlus wheelchair bike. This bicycle has been donated to the care institution. There are several volunteers who cycle on the wheelchair bike. It is a pleasure to ride the bicycle. It is a pleasant way to take the residents outside and to bring them back safely.
I cycle about five times a week. I cycle for a maximum of 2 hours per inhabitant. In the nature and recreation areas of Broekpolder and Krabbeplas there are beautiful and fine cycle paths, so I like to cycle there with the residents. The bike is a lot wider than a normal bike, because a wheelchair is required of course. The width is never a problem. Sometimes there are some narrow paths in the nature reserves, but I have to stop rarely for it.
With the rickshaw and the duo bike the patients have to be lifted on the bike with a hoist. With the wheelchair bike we can push the patients with the entire wheelchair on the bike. We always need an extra attendant from the department to help with getting the patient on the bike and to help getting them off the bike. This extra person keeps a closer eye on the patient; someone from the psychogeriatric department has to be instructed each time and has to make sure that they hold on to themselves. The driver can do the rest alone, such as fastening the seatbelt and hooks and cycling of course.
The pedal support is great. It is a wide range: 8 gears and then again 3 assistance levels. One more very good element: when the bike is stationary and the pedals are in an unfavourable position, you can press the button that the bike ‘rides’ itself. Pedalling backwards is also a very nice option, which is of course quite unique on a bicycle. I can confirm that you shouldn’t ride without a wheelchair on your bike. You run the risk of tipping over in de corner. Furthermore, the wheelchair bike is a pleasure to ride.
Ton van Baaren - Vlaardingen
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