Adaptive bike manufacturer teams up with Middlebury Consulting Group

By ALVARO SAENZ

COURTESY PHOTO
A RAD-Innovations client tests out a RaceRunning bike. The RAD-innovations designed product allows people with various disabilities to enjoy the moving sensation of running.

Middlebury Consulting Group (MCG) has teamed up with RAD-Innovations LLC, a Cornwall-based adaptive-bike manufacturer currently focused on producing a RaceRunning bike for differently-abled people. In RaceRunning, participants operate a pedal-free custom-built tricycle called the RaceRunner. The frame supports the weight of their upper body, isolating the legs which are then used to push the athlete forward. This allows people with disabilities like cerebral palsy, amputations, muscular dystrophy, or arthritis to enjoy the sensation of running. RaceRunning is also acknowledged as an official disability sport and appeared at the World Para Athletics European Championships for the first time in 2018. 

MCG has only just begun its work with RAD-Innovations this year. MCG team-leader Kenshin Cho ’20 was put in touch with company-owners, David Black and Anja Wrede, through a client recommendation and has since focused his efforts on building company infrastructure for where and how to launch the product. While tailored for competitions, RAD’s version of the RaceRunner can be used for leisure as well. RAD’s strategy is to create RaceRunning clubs around the country, with the first one originating here in Middlebury. 

Working closely with the marketing director of RAD-Innovations, Cho said that student creativity and MCG’s willingness to assist companies is what allows the group to harbor a symbiotic relationship between real-world professionals and students.

Although the consulting group had been working with RAD-Innovations since September, owner David Black has been building three-wheel push chairs and tricycles for 25 years and has tried to increase the popularity of RaceRunning. 

“The Vermont community is very sports oriented whether it be skiing, cycling or kayaking,” Black said. “Bringing over a mobility product for people with disabilities would be an asset to the community.”

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Co-owner of RAD-Innovations, David Black (right), has worked on manufacturing RaceRunning bikes for the last 25 years. It was only in the last year when he was approached by Middlebury Consulting Group as a project partner.

One way of increasing popularity is by having RAD-Innovations try to create a template to build clubs throughout America that are adaptive and inclusive for the people that need the mobility devices. “Vermont is a good model for all America where there are small towns,” Black said and he has seen and praised the consulting group’s out-of-the-box thinking. “Working with students that haven’t been involved [with the RaceRunner] or this particular level of manufacturing can [spark] new questions,” he said. 

Black plans to release the RaceRunner through a community-based effort. Film -major, Zach Einhorn ’21, is helping David Black document the journey of one of his clients that is transitioning to the use of the RaceRunner. “It was a little weird for the client at first,” Einhorn said, referring to the fact that your legs dangle for the seat of the RaceRunner. “Eventually the client was able to use his legs to help push himself,” he said. While use of the RAi RaceRunner prototype has been limited, Einhorn said it was a big jump for the client, who is usually in a wheelchair. “Toward the end,” Einhorn said, “the client could walk by himself.” 

To find out more information on RAD-Innovations visit rad-innovations.com.

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