CANBY - K and K Motor Sports in Canby had been in business for about 30 years. Then about five years ago owner Mark Kallhoff stumbled into a new line, building specialty motor trikes for the disabled.
"In 2007 I built my first for a farmer who was injured in his early 20s," Kallhoff said. "In his late 40s he decided he wanted to ride motorbikes again."
Kallhoff is now putting the finishing touches on his 11th specialty trike for Lt. Gerald "Jerry" P. Garrett, a disabled former U.S. Navy aviator who lives in Florida. The trike is built with a Blue Angels theme inspired by the Navy's precision flying team, appropriately enough since Kallhoff named Liberator Trikes after the World War II B-24 Liberator bomber.
Photo by Steve Browne
Mark Kallhoff made this custom motor trike with a Blue Angels theme in his shop in Canby for a disabled former naval aviator. It features all hand controls and easy access for the wheelchair bound.
Garrett flew P3 Orion four-engine turboprops for the Navy for 10 years before an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Before his accident he was an enthusiastic motorcycle rider.
"A friend of mine saw one someone had bought and sent me a picture," Garrett said. "So when my cousin and I drove up to Michigan to visit my sister I said what the heck, let's stop by southwest Minnesota. We went and saw Mark's shop and made the decision right away. The quality was amazing and his enthusiasm was contagious."
Kallhoff explained every trike he builds has a frame designed so wheelchair-bound rider can swing their legs in without having to lift them over anything. Everything is hand-controlled. The seat swivels to make it easier for a rider to get in, drive up to a pump at the gas station and fill the trike, and turns all the way around to permit access to the engine. The wheelchair can be folded and stored in a space behind the seat.
There is also an option to install a second seat for a passenger, and a detachable rack for the wheelchair on the back.
Word gets around about Kallhoff's trikes when he shows them at bike shows.
"Last year I built one for a gentleman in Daytona which took honorable mention at the Rat's Hole Motorcycle show," Kallhoff said, "and we took Best of Show at Daytona Motor Speedway."
Kallhoff now advertises in publications dedicated to the disabled market.
"Honestly, when I first started I never had the intention beyond the first bike," Kallhoff said.
This week Kallhoff is taking the trike down to Florida for Daytona Bike Week. He'll meet up with Garrett to help him through the Department of Motor Vehicles registration procedures for specialty vehicles and train him to handle the bike.
"Oh man I can't wait," Garrett said. "A lot of my friends ride and I'll probably have 30 or 40 bikes in the driveway when he gets here. We're going to have a party."