An ordinary, friendly family lives near Saint-Lo on the English Channel. Yves and Sonia Ozouf have three children aged ten, seven and three. But since the birth of the youngest, life has become a little more difficult. Roxanne had moments of absence, she looked. It was eventually discovered that he suffered from “West syndrome”, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that impairs psychomotor development.
Among the countless small pleasures that bind a family together but are made impossible by Roxanne’s illness: riding a bike. Hypotonic, the child cannot stand in an ordinary child seat.
The first wheelchair bicycle
To overcome this deficiency, his father Yves decides to combine a bicycle and a wheelchair. He is a boilermaker, so welding holds no secrets for him. In this process, he faces some difficulties: “At first I didn’t want to cut the frame and I just wanted to change the fork. But the steering angle made the car uncontrollable: in fact, the bike lagged behind the chair and stretched in the turns. So I made the orientation vertical. »
The first bicycle chair, which will be born in the summer of 2021, allows the family to reconnect with long walks by the sea. The children are delighted, and Roxanne is no less than the adults. A hundred kilometers during the vacation is already an opportunity for Yves to evaluate possible improvements. He realizes that the lack of electric assistance severely limits the use of his vehicle on straight routes – “push” chair, we don’t go far in the rib.
Some bikes find a second life thanks to Yves. (Yves Ozouf)
In a Facebook support group where parents of disabled children share advice and encouragement, Yves posts a picture of his bicycle seat. “I just wanted to share the idea, for others to benefit from it.” he said. Not only does he not expect the volume of messages that suddenly overwhelm him _ “400 in the next hour”, he says _ but there’s something obvious he hasn’t even thought about. This is because not everyone has their own welding skills. And so he finds himself overwhelmed by wants, not means “orders” hidden.
Birth of “Heart Welders”.
When he returns from graduation, he rolls up his sleeves again. This time for others. He goes back to work and starts collecting bikes and chairs “It’s not hard to findaccording to him, because children who use it grow up and leave it. And because, on the other hand, nursing homes do not have a collection channel. »
Realizing that he cannot do everything alone, he also plans to create an association. He opens up to his neighbor, a bicycle mechanic whose wife will be the treasurer of the association, who follows him without hesitation. A few more neighbors will follow, and then one after another, colleagues or former co-workers.
Today, around thirty Les Soudeurs du Coeur work in the workshop at Yves’ home, and the association is supported by its employer, Arma Piping, which supplies equipment and materials. The rest—especially the power kits—is funded by donations and holiday organizations and other pancake sales…
Twelve wheelchair bikes for Christmas
Seven new machines have been built and twelve will be ready by Christmas. The production process has been improving over the months, and against the background of the increasing number of (“I am a welder, I have a workshop, I want to help”), local branches of the association are prepared. They will not only increase production, but also reduce transportation costs.
You need to understand the public utility and very specific qualities of the Les Soudeurs du Coeur bicycle seat. First he “safe” families who cannot afford a suitable AE cargo bike to transport children (prices – new – between 3500 and 6000€). In addition, there is a bicycle “the advantage of not condemning the detachable chair, Yves explains. So, you can stop during the walk, take a chair and, for example, go for a drink. »