Guide to choosing a specialised cycle

Guide to choosing a specialised cycle

There are many types of specialised cycles on the market designed for people with disabilities. They can also be quite expensive, so there are a few things you should consider before buying one.

Try before you buy

You should ensure you are able to try out a cycle before you buy, preferably in the environment that you are going to use it in. There are a number of organisations that have different types of cycles available for trial, and some have 'try out' sessions or days where you can try different types of cycles with the guidance of trained staff. This may be particularly helpful if you are new to cycling or are unsure what type of cycle may be suitable for you. (Velovision, 2005).

Our list of useful organisations for cycling has details of which organisations offer this service.

Getting on and off your cycle

Consider whether you are able to get on and off the cycle independently and without difficulty. Are you going to need to have someone help you when you get to your destination?(Velovision, 2005).

Correct set-up

It is important that your cycle is correctly set up for you, for your safety and comfort while cycling. For example, if you need extra hip, trunk or leg supports they need to be appropriately positioned. It is recommended that you seek advice from a trained expert in disability cycling. If you have more complex needs, you may also require an assessment by an occupational therapist or physiotherapist.

See our list of useful organisations for cycling for information on where to find help.


Many specialised cycles can be bulkier than a standard bicycle. This may mean that they are more difficult to store if you have limited space. (Velovision, 2005). There are lockable storage boxes available that you can purchase, see our cycle accessories section for more information. Manufacturers of scooter stores may also have suitable products for storing larger cycles. See our section on storage for scooters for details of suppliers and manufacturers.

Transporting your cycle

If you purchase a specialised cycle, you may need to transport it by car. Check whether you can easily remove the wheels or other components to allow it to fit. If you need to transport your cycle without assistance, you should check that you can manage on your own. The manufacturer or supplier of your cycle should be able to give you further advice about transporting your chosen cycle. (Velovision, 2005).

Where can you cycle?

There are many parks, cycle trails and routes throughout the UK. Parks can be a good place to cycle, especially if you are new to cycling, as they are free of traffic and often have wide paths suitable for tricycles or other specialised bikes. (London Cycling Campaign, 2009). Sustrans has details of cycle routes around the country, many of which have minimal traffic or are cycle-only. (National Cycle Network). There are also a number of organised events you can participate in, run by various cycling organisations around the UK.


Unfortunately, many specialised cycles are expensive, and they are not funded by local authorities or other government bodies. You may qualify for VAT relief though. (Velovision, 2005), (London Cycling Campaign, 2009).

There are some charities and organisations that may be able to provide assistance. See our list of useful organisations for cycling for more information.

Advice last checked: 30 January 2018 Next check due: 30 January 2021

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement