Adaptive Bicycles: Together, We Move Towards Your Dreams and Aspirations

Different Spokes generously loaned six adaptive bicycles for our Bike MS 2016 I Ride with MS Victory Lap. It was wonderful to see so many impacted by MS—that stole their ability to ride an upright cycle—once again feel the joy and freedom of flying down the road.

Here are a few excerpts from our conversation with Don Smith, co-owner of Different Spokes.

What’s the relationship between you and your cyclists/customers?

At Different Spokes, we get to know aspiring cyclists as we help them pursue their goals. As we adapt bikes to riders, we also help riders adapt to bikes. The former is mechanical and the latter is more a matter of the mind and body. By the time our riders get to the start line, we are all emotionally invested in their success.


Michael and Bonnie cross the finish line. I Ride with MS Victory Lap: Bike MS Willamette Valley 2016

What did you most enjoy about Bike MS weekend?

The I Ride with MS Victory Lap is a mile. For some riders, it may as well be a century [100 miles].

Towards the end of the mile, the road rises. We were positioned at the top of this grade. One by one, they rounded the corner cresting the hill. This is where pedaling became easier. We watched and cheered as their looks of determination gave way to smiles of success. The grins on their faces as they coasted down to the finish line was priceless.


Kevin Byrne (L) and Jim Fairchild (R) launching from the start line. I Ride with MS Victory Lap: Bike MS Willamette Valley 2016

What does it mean for you and Different Spokes to sponsor Bike MS?

We are especially honored to be part of the Bike MS experience. We were first invited to Bike MS in 2013. We weren’t sure what to expect. Upon our arrival, it was obvious that Bike MS is not just a bike ride but an event. Right away, we felt lucky to have been invited and knew we were in for a great time. Everyone helped us to feel welcome—we felt like part of the family.

Don, Bonnie and Chris along the route at Bike MS

Don, Bonnie and Chris along the route at Bike MS Willamette Valley 2016

How do you see the bikes you provide making a difference for those who have difficulty (or can’t) ride an upright? 

For at least four of our I Ride with MS cyclists, it was their first independent ride in years or even decades.

With products like the Hase Pino tandem and the BerkelBike tadpole trike, we see many folks succeed. The Pino is arguably one of the finest adaptive bikes on the planet. This upright tandem features a front rider who is recumbent.

The BerkelBike is in a class of its own as it has both hand and foot pedals. Someone with limited ability in one or more limbs can use their stronger limb(s) to help pedal.

The Pino and the BerkelBike are only a couple of the bikes Different Spokes has in our adaptive arsenal. With careful bike selection, the right accoutrements (e.g., pedals), supports, and a proper fitting, we help many become successful cyclists.

At Different Spokes we believe, with a nod to Bill Bowerman, that if you have a body, you’re a cyclist. With this powerful inspiration we can envision creative solutions helping people achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Thank you all at Bike MS for including us in this rewarding experience!

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.49.21 PM

I Ride with MS cyclists heading out onto the 1-mile Victory Lap: Bike MS Willamette Valley 2016


Different Spokes
Don Smith

Comments are closed.