Michael Brown of Maestro Frameworks strongly believes that “everyone should have the chance to ride a bike,” and he delivers on this belief. Based in
Pittsburg Pittsburgh, Maestro Frameworks is the culmination of Brown’s eclectic background including racing, custom wheel building, and shop proprietorship.
But Maestro Frameworks is not your average builder of custom steel frames. Encountering the needs of handicapped individuals including those with birth-defects, dwarfisms, and other physical deficiencies, Brown has begun to fulfill their dreams of two-wheeled freedom.
The story that has grabbed the attention and hearts of a worldwide audience centers on Mike Trimble. Born in Ukraine with no arms, Trimble’s birth-defect is a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. See Trimble’s story and bike after the jump…
Due to claimed “liability issues” approached frame-builders were unwilling to work with Trimble and his unique requirements. Then he met Brown and Maestro Frameworks. Respecting cost considerations, Brown decided Trimble’s dust-collecting cruiser would do the job perfectly well with some slight modifications. Fabricating a custom handlebar replacement that provided a padded U-shaped holster for Trimble’s stumped arm, Brown was able to utilize the cruiser’s relaxed geometry and long wheelbase to provide a stable and ridable bike.
Brown notes, “The bar moves up and down so it mimics the movement of the body. I did not over-engineer the bar and kept it simple with the thought of getting Mike riding and then using his input for further design.” The result is such a success that Brown says Trimble is already talking of a second bike, one with “less weight, gears and a rack.” And Brown is dreaming right along with him, “I’m now thinking of ways to set up the next bike so he can control a five speed internal hub with a coaster brake.”
The authenticity, compassion and joy in seeing others living out their dream of riding is evident in Brown’s words and actions. Beyond Mr. Trimble, Brown has also worked with Vince Eberie who was born with a form of dwarfism that resulted in his legs being proportionally shorter than this torso/arms. Naturally this has made finding a proper bike-fit impossible. Then Brown and Maestro Frameworks stepped in with a custom steel frame and complete single-speed build. Eberie is ecstatic with the build, raving, “I still can’t believe how easy it is to do 10 miles on that bike…”
Josselyn Crane is yet another success story for Brown and his mission to make bike riding a possibility for anyone. Born with one arm nine inches shorter than the other, Crane now has a modified setup similar to Trimble’s that allows full piloting control via the left-side of her custom handlebar. “We picked out a bike with a single front ring,” reports Brown, “I set up the left side of the bars to work with gripshift and installed a double pull brake lever.” Don’t let anyone tell you cycling is simply a sport. We clearly have the capacity for great passion and compassion.
Living Without Arms video credit: produced and published by Andrew Rush of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (09/20/13); link here.