The idea to build a custom, lightweight racing version of a Catrike 700 recumbent trike started when SOLIDWORKS developer Arnav Mukherjee started training on a stock version of the same trike. Arnav had set the goal to join Team Dassault Systèmes (Team DS) and ride in the 2017 edition of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), a 192 mile, 2 day charity cycling event in which Team DS has participated for 16 years. Arnav decided upon Catrike as his bike of choice since he wanted to ride a bike designed in SOLIDWORKS software and the three wheel recumbent is also a great bike for Arnav, who suffers from back pain.
A Bike for a Cause
One day, Arnav and I were discussing the trike with coworker Annie Cheung, and the thought came to us to build a custom, lightweight version of the trike for fellow Team DS rider, Gina Utegg. Gina is a disabled rider who has been riding with the team since 2012. Due to her disability she rides recumbent bikes and trikes. In 2001, a Regulatory Affairs, Chemistry, Manufacture, and Controls professional working in the pharmaceutical industry, Gina suffered spinal cord injuries and a traumatic brain injury due to a near fatal car accident in which she was hit by a drunk driver. She gained weight and had to learn to walk and talk again. Then in 2009, Gina was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after a year-long battle involving radiation and chemotherapy was pronounced cancer free. Since Gina is unable to work due to her injuries from the car accident, she has dedicated her life to participating in charity sporting events and races, bringing awareness to sporting activities for disabled athletes and helping the cancer community. Through her adaptive sporting activities, Gina has lost all the weight gained after her accident and the new Trike could really help her bring her racing to the next level.
I am an avid cyclist and bike building hobbyist and took on the challenge of building the Catrike as light as possible to support Gina in her sporting efforts. Catrike was generous enough to help with the project, donating a Catrike 700 frame and all of the custom Catrike components required for the bike. Mark Egeland from Catrike was happy to support the effort saying “Gina is doing some great work; it is always great to see people making a difference.”
I wanted to build the trike with as many SOLIDWORKS designed components as possible and needed additional parts to do complete the build. Another SOLIDWORKS customer, Full Speed Ahead (FSA), was happy to support the build with donations of a triple crank set, three bike chains (required for the long chain on a recumbent), a larger chain ring for faster speeds, carbon water bottle cages, and carbon mountain bike disc brakes and rotors. The remaining components required for the build were acquired through very generous, discount pricing by Don and Kristen Seib of Barker Mountain Bikes. I built the bike in my home bike shop, including hand building custom, lightweight front wheels. The finished trike tips the scales at 32 lbs., a few pounds lighter than the stock Catrike 700, and a video of the unboxing and assembly is shown below.
The Bike in Action
The bike was given to Gina in early April so she would have time to train on it and be ready for her first event in May.
Gina loves the new bike and rode it in Face of America, the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC, and showcased it in the Freeport Women’s Cycling Ride and Adaptive Equipment Expo. In fact, Gina won the women’s pushrim division of the Marine Corp Marathon with the fastest push rim time of the entire event (male or female). We are so happy that we could support her in her efforts to support other disabled athletes and great charitable causes and wish her the best of luck in all of her future events. Thanks to our sponsors for supporting this great project and a special thanks to Gina for supporting other disabled athletes and all of these great causes!
See below for photos of Gina and the Catrike 700 in various events.
A special thank you goes out to our sponsors!