"Look at me, no hands!"  

by Erik Wannee


This spring, I received a mail by Bram Smit, the owner of probably the smallest recumbent company in the Netherlands. At the back of his house in a tiny shed he makes tiny bicycles for tiny people, about 20 bicycles a year. The product is called Vici, a rear-wheel-driven kid recumbent. The name of the company is "Fast FWD".

One day someone contacted Bram about his son who had no arms and this was the reason why his son couldn't cycle on a common child's bicycle. He asked if this boy, who happened to have the same name as "Bram" would be able to cycle a Vici.
This proved to be impossible. However, they wondered if Bram would be able to build a bicycle where little Bram would be able to cycle independently. It is most important for a child to be mobile independently for its physical and mental development and also to be mobile without the help of outsiders.
Through an e-mail discussion group Bram knew I was interested in these matters and he also knows I am very proud myself to be able to cycle hands-free. I also look into these matters due to my profession as a GP. This is why this mail reached me and together Bram and I tried to figure out what kind of child's bicycle little Bram would be able to cycle.
A bicycle like this must have a high "Flevo-quality" because of the steer mechanism and so the use of hands would not be necessary. Since the bicycle must remain in an up-right position, we selected a tricycle. In this case no Flevo-Trike topple mechanism, but simply rigid. Naturally, it needed a pedal brake. Spring action was not necessary, because there was no need to cycle fast. This would make the construction heavier, more vulnerable and more expensive. In order to transport the reaction strength of the steering on the seat, small platoons have been installed on both sides.










As a Vici-constructor Bram Smit was able to use many accessories. He also took care that the bicycle looked nice and flashy and would not have a musty "rehabilitation-radiation". After a few weeks pottering Bram had a provisional version. Little Bram was invited to make a trial-run. It was obvious that he was able to cycle very confident within an hour and he was very enthusiastic about it. The last adjustments were made and the tiny bicycle was spouted in a lively yellow colour. It was named "Yepp".
Saturday October 26 was the big day. Yepp was ready-to-go and was festively transferred. Bram was cycling enthusiastically round after round and posed for the photographer as if he was a professional. Tiny Bram is still able to grow in his Yepp. The frame can be drawn out, the pedals have blocks wich can be removed later on and he can still grow in the seat. I am very optimistic about his future. I expect Bram will use an adult-Flevo-Trike or possibly a Flevo-Bike when he is fully grown.
I am very optimistic about his future. I expect Bram will use an adult-Flevo-Trike or possibly a Flevo-Bike when he is fully grown. This tiny Yepp shows which unprecedented possibilities the recumbents offer. Impossibilities on traditional bicycles might be realised by clever and creative designing. I am convinced that many people are ignorant of all its possibilities. If you are unable to cycle a traditional bicycle because of a physical handicap or if you know someone who has this problem, you are more than welcome to contact Bram Smit or me.

Back to the summary