Wheelchair-accessible motorcycle?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NEWBURGH, N.Y. – If you’ve ever watched the reality TV show American Chopper, you know that Paul Sr., the founder of Orange County Choppers and patriarch of the Teutul family, is a big guy. His sleeveless shirts and tattooed arms make sure you notice.

But provider Doug Crana, president of Consolidated Medical, which shares a home base with Orange County Choppers in Newburgh, N.Y., says Paul Sr.’s even bigger in person.

“He looks bigger than he does on TV,” he said. “It was pretty neat.”

Crana met Paul Sr. recently, when he and his employees fitted him for a TiLite manual wheelchair (Consolidated Medical is a TiLite dealer). Paul Sr. doesn’t need a wheelchair, but during an episode that is scheduled to air Jan. 7, he will ride away in a wheelchair-

accessible motorcycle that his shop has designed and built.

After the episode, Orange County Choppers will donate the motorcycle to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

“Everything was a donation—from TiLite donating the wheelchair to us donating our time to do the fitting,” Crana said. “It took us maybe two or three hours, so I don’t think we’ll be a big part of the episode, but it’s nice to get the recognition.”

The motorcycle has three wheels, making room for a wheelchair ramp in the back. The ramp features an EZ Lock docking system to secure the wheelchair in place.

“It’s very, very different,” he said. “Like nothing I’ve seen before.”

American Choppers airs on TLC. Visit its Web site, www.tlc.discovery.com, for viewing information.