May 15, 2008 When motorcyclists have an accident they roll a dice, with escaping unscathed on one side and very severe consequences on the other. And for those unlucky enough to sustain severe and permanent injuries like paraplegia, there's often one huge regret - that they may never ride again on a real bike. A chance encounter with a paraplegic ex-motorcross champion in a hospital carpark inspired West Australian Darren Lomman to put together an audacious project: a motorcycle for paraplegic riders - and his working prototype, a heavily modified Honda CBR250RR, is now road licensed and operational. With the right investment and profile, Lomman believes the Dreamfit bike isn't too far away from production potential - and after around 150 enquiries from all around the world, he would love to be able to put the bikes in the hands of more people for whom riding has become an impossible dream.
Started as a university project, the Dreamfit CBR250RR has been modified to suit riders paralyzed from the chest down, with thumb-activated pneumatic rams for foot-free gear shifting, a combined braking system, custom-moulded ergonomic cups to hold the rider in place without any lower body strength, and a set of steel-braced "landing gear" wheels that drop to provide stability at very low speeds.
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Dreamfit have also produced prototypes of speedboats, hovercraft, seated surfboards and other recreational equipment for sportspeople with disabilities, and the company is in the process of moving from a small shed into a 2500-square metre workshop, from which Lomman hopes to be in a position to go into production with one or more of the projects.
Dreamfit is seeking investors to make the project a viable reality for disabled riders. And if there’s one person Lomman would love to get in touch with about the Dreamfit bike, it would be 3-time world 500cc champion Wayne Rainey, whose crash at Misano in 1993 left him paralysed from the chest down. “Many nights I’ve dreamed of getting Wayne on board as an endorser, or even just letting him take the CBR for a ride - but I’ve looked in the Perth White Pages and Wayne Rainey’s not in there. So if any of your readers have any idea of how to contact him, tell them to let me know!”
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