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|The creative genius of Heabert Grant--a double amputee with a flair for mechanics|
|Written by Michelle Gonsalves|
|Saturday, 18 August 2012 12:57|
TRAVELLING along the busy Vlissingen Road on my way to work a couple of days ago, my beau and I saw, just ahead of us, a man on an unusual motorbike.
Trailing the man, we stopped at Lowe’s Service Station, next to the Guyana Chronicle, where we caught up with him. Turns out our quarry was 51-year-old Heabert Grant, a mechanic by profession and inventor of the one-of-a-kind motorbike.
His story is even more than I had bargained for, as the bike is not made from an assortment of motorbike parts, as I had initially thought, but from components of nine different pieces of machinery!
The bike was created by assembling various parts about a year ago. It took Grant about two months to put this unique puzzle together. The front of the bike comes from a scooter, the wheels from a CBR, the axle from a lawnmower; and the other components came from a Honda motorbike and various other pieces of machinery. The tank of the bike and the front part of the frame were actually taken from a child’s toy motorbike.
Grant says that given what he has learnt about building the bike, he can build another one like it in a week.
Just how fast does it go, I wondered, and Grant disclosed that he has driven the bike at speeds of up to 70 miles. But, he says: “I don’t push it to the limit because I don’t know how much it really got.”
He proudly pointed out: “You see, it got music and everything in it. Right?”
Just as fascinating, Grant is a double amputee who lost his legs from the shin down in a motorcycle accident back in 1980. He created the prosthetic legs he was wearing when I met him.
In the past, Grant used another pair of prosthetic legs which he had also made. He had fashioned those from pipe. They sufficed, but got damaged easily, and often needed to be replaced.
He fashioned his current prosthetics from layers of leather which form a rigid casing. While these prosthetic legs are much more durable and look good, they are, more or less, serving a cosmetic function now, as Grant says he cannot walk in them anymore without being considerably bruised.
Grant said the Government approved $360,000 for him to have prosthetic legs made by using the latest technology; but the Rehab Centre, which is supposed to supply his legs, has been giving him quite a bit of a push around. It has been nearly three months and they keep telling him to come back.
“It’s a frustrating situation,” he said. “I don’t feel like I should beg.”
He works independently at his Norton Street home, and says that he can fix any kind of bike or cycle. Restrictions on his mobility hamper him from fixing cars or larger vehicles. He believes that wearing a more flexible leg would work wonders with his productivity, and help him to work with larger machinery.
Incredibly, Grant has no fancy welding tools or equipment. He says that all he has is “A normal toolkit and talent.” He loves books, and says he has a lot of them. His creation was inspired by a model he saw in a book, and he improved on it.
What would he have done if he had fancy tools? Grant laughed. “I might have built a chopper (helicopter),” he said.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 18 August 2012 21:47|