Innovated by us. Ridden by you.
A rear steering and braking system for special needs trikes, invented and extensively developed by Tomcat, and featuring a removable control arm, an extension strap brake, a park brake, a power doubler feature, and speed control in all modes.
Carer Control was invented by Tomcat’s M.D, Bob Griffin, for his son Tom who had Angelmans Syndrome; a condition, typified by severe learning difficulties and poor balance.
Tom didn’t sleep well, so Bob invented a trike who’s steering, braking and speed were all controlled from behind by Toms mum. His invention allowed Tom to burn up all his excess energy on long cycle rides about their beautiful Cotswold countryside.
It was a fantastic success because each ride was a new adventure that was always safe and fun, and there was nowhere that Tom and Anne couldn’t go on his new trike.
Design, CE marking and Compliance
As the Tomcat was the world’s first Carer Controlled trike, there were no technical guidelines, so Bob used his skills with CAD (Computer Aided Design) and many years experience in mechanical engineering, to design a system that would ensure Anne and Tom safety at all times. He also drew on the advice and experience of British Trading Standards to ensure that his design was as safe as humanly possible with every facet covered.
Positive steering, good brakes, speed control and manoeuvrability were all essential features, but as Tom could be quite wilful at times, Bob built a “Power Doubler” feature into the steering control which acted like power steering, and ensured that Anne was always in control.
But perhaps the most important feature of the trike design was its weight, because the whole point of the Tomcat was to go for rides in the countryside and the Cotswolds are definitely not flat.
Most Special Needs trikes were rarely seen outside the school hall where weight was not an issue so Bob had to start from scratch to design a trike that was stable and tough, but as light as possible. By good design he produced a frame that weighed just 2.5kg but passed a load test of 263kg (over a ¼ of a tonne) without harm, a remarkable achievement, and the reason why the Tomcat frame carries a five year warranty.
The birth of a Business
Tom’s unique trike and Carer Control were an instant success and demand persuaded Bob to start Tomcat and make tricycles for all the other children like Tom who’d been excluded from cycling by their learning difficulties. We have built over 5000 to date, mostly with Carer Control, and all custom built.
There are many imitations of Tomcats technology these days, not just in the Special Needs industry but in the wider children’s market and almost every toddlers plastic toy has a crude copy these days but the design that so patently outperforms all others, is protected by its patent No and the passion of its inventor to be the very best that money can buy.