My six-year-old son Max has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This disease slowly eats away at his muscles and compromises his mobility. Max is able to walk and get around but he cannot easily climb stairs, jump, pedal a bicycle or balance particularly well. He also tends to fall down hard fairly frequently.

Despite these limitations, Max has ridden a three wheel push Wishbone tricycle for the past three years. However, he has recently become too big and heavy for its wooden frame. Max has always loved riding his tricycle and when he’s happily whizzing around the neighbourhood on it, it can be easy to forget about his limitations.

The Challenge

Max loves bikes and with your expertise I’d like to design a larger, more durable and versatile tricycle for him. There are many cycles on the market for children with limited mobility, but as far as I know, there is nothing like what I am proposing.

The objective of this project is to design, build and test a power-assist push tricycle for Max and boys like him.

Design Specifications

I would like help designing a tricycle with the following characteristics:

  • safety will be the main priority when designing and testing the tricycle.

  • it will use three 20” fat tires or the equivalent - these wheels will allow the tricycle to ride on grass, sand + snow

  • it will fit a rider 120 cm tall and be adjustable for when the rider grows without compromising performance

  • it will be stronger, more durable and more versatile than Max’s existing push tricycle - the Wishbone.

  • it will look cool, exciting and fast - it won’t look institutional or like a wheelchai

  • it will have an electric assist motor - this will help to power the cycle up hills, over difficult terrain and when the rider is tired. This motor will be purchased and incorporated into the design of the tricycle. The motor will be governed to slower speeds and is meant to supplement the propulsion of the rider.

  • it will most likely be a three-wheeled 'push' tricycle, meaning the rider will propel the cycle by pushing on the ground with their feet - however creative ways of including pedals Max could turn will be considered.

  • it will have foot rests - I would like to investigate if it is possible to incorporate some foot pegs into the design that will not impede with Max's pushing motion.

  • it will have a removable seat - it must be possible to swap seats in case Max needs additional support or restraints as he gets older.

  • it will have a safe and easy to use braking system

  • wherever possible the fat trike should use affordable and off the shelf bicycle components

More Information

If you have any questions about The Fat Trike Design Challenge or any of the specifications listed above, please contact me at

To learn more about our Duchenne fundraising activities, please visit our main page here.