Since 1999 design engineer, Bob Griffin, has given disabled people and the cycling industry such innovations as Carer Control, Trailer Trike, Swivel Saddle and lots more, resulting in independence and a lot of fun!
Guest post on behalf of Tomcat: Special kit for special kids
#InventedIthour Twitter Fridays 1pm
Tom Baker, was the first child to have a Tomcat trike made for him. He is the reason why Tomcat is here and why thousands of children with a disability now know what it is to cycle.
Tom was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome and curvature of his spine, which meant that before his trike, his independence to get about was restricted.
A wheelchair was an option for him, but Tom wanted to be able to move by himself.
Enter the inventor Bob Griffin
A tool making apprenticeship taught Bob how to make almost anything, and after winning “Best Production Engineering Technician” in 1972 his employer funded a total of 10 years of study in mechanical and electrical engineering. A career in the Merchant Navy followed where Bob climbed the ranks to Chief Engineer and Engineering Superintendent. Bob is happiest as a trouble-shooter and loves inventing stuff.
Bob and Tom’s worlds collided when Bob met and married Toms mum!
Bob having assessed the issue of Tom’s mobility decided he could make the redundant trike that was gathering dust in the shed much more suited to Tom’s needs.
Bob invented the Carer’s Control system for the trike. This meant mum could discreetly stay in control of Toms enthusiastic biking skills!
Tom’s new trike changed everything. He was suddenly able to participate in enjoyable activities like other children his age. The Carer Control at the back of the trike was fantastic: he thought he was in control of the trike, when of course I was. What a great sense of independence it gave him!
The trike was the ideal solution as the exercise it gave him was so beneficial, not to mention all the positive knock-on effects of being out in the fresh air: the bowels, water works, appetite and sleeping pattern all improved dramatically. Weight can often be an issue for children with disabilities when they are cooped up in the house all day, but the trike was great for keeping Tom’s weight down.
And so Tomcat Ltd was born, realising that so many other families would benefit from this system.
Continuous innovation is the name of the game. Overcoming ever more complex issues; customers with neurological damage, paralysis, severe physical disability, or even serious mobility issues such as the need to be moved by hoist, can access a trike and use their limbs as nature intended – often for the first time and with all the health benefits that brings.
Tomcats unique expertise and willingness to innovate has prompted Paediatricians at some of Britain’s best-known hospitals, to refer their patients to us and many of Tomcat’s most significant innovations have come from such cooperation.
One important factor in is Tomcats ability to customise on an international scale.
Our customers are like snowflakes in that each is different and requires a different solution; but commercially successful manufacture relies on standardisation to make things cost effective.
One of Tomcats best innovations has been the development of technological systems that allow the company to customise a highly specialised product for anywhere in the world and still guarantee it will work.
Dear everyone at Tomcat,
Another of year of us making the most of Jo’s amazing Tomcat Tiger Trike. This year we have taken it on ferries to Sandbanks, Brownsea Island and the Isle of Wight and on our trips to loads of UK beaches, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and to Longleat Safari Park.
Thanks again for designing such an amazing product that makes our family life so much easier and gives Jo a real sense of his own abilities, rather than disability.
We went to Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath this week. Sadly the steep slopes mean that the garden, and more importantly the elf and fairy trail, are unsuitable for wheelchairs, but you will be glad to hear that the Tomcat performed brilliantly.
Since being issued with an NHS wheelchair we have also learned to appreciate just how great the Tomcat design is: the hand brake and caliper brakes are so much more effective than anything on a wheelchair and mean that I have a spare hand available for Jo’s three year old sister, and the pneumatic tyres make for a much more comfortable ride.
Jo has been in serial casts for the past month and his opportunities for exercise have been really limited. Having our trike has meant that we have been able to get out and about and Jo has been able to maintain his fitness.
Best wishes to you all. Laura Williams
To quote Bob Griffin on this issue:
We could custom build a Tomcat for a Martian if he gave us information about his difficulties; what he wants to achieve and the local topography. We see post and packaging costs as being the biggest problem.
Because Tomcat design, build and deliver to customers from their Gloucestershire factory, the price paid goes on quality, new innovation and service, not international transportation and middle men. Is a great British small business that packs a big punch.
The Tomcat business is an ongoing process of learning, and inventing, and overcoming issues . With frequently complex cases referred to the company by children’s hospitals, paediatricians and therapists.