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Adaptive Cycling: Handcycles, Amputee Adaptation, Visual Impairment, and Other Needs Have a need for adaptive equipment to ride to compensate for a disability or loss of limb or function? This area is for discussion among those of us in the cycling world that are coming back from traumatic circumstances and tell the world, "No, you are not going to beat me down!"

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Old 02-23-07, 09:48 PM   #51
feba
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Well, I was formally diagnosed and drugged up for ADHD and Bipolar when I was in elementary, although it was really, in my opinion, 99% bull**** excuse to sell ritalin. From what i've read, if I had to diagnose myself with anything, it would be asperger's or autism or something along those lines, but I doubt it- i'm basically 'normal', if slightly odd. I wouldn't even really call myself eccentric.

If I had to list my 'disabilities' it would be my very poor sense of, well, scent- I can barely smell anything unless it's right under my nose, or freshly cooked food. This has it's benefits though, as anyone who's travelled through iowa's highways will agree ^^ My short-term memory is also sketchy at times, although that's greatly improved since I stopped taking the above mentioned drugs, and isn't really noticible anymore(compare to 5 years ago, when I would sometimes walk right out the front door in the morning, and not only forget to lock it, but forget to even close it, right after I had been reminded!) My memory of anything that wasn't fairly major more than about two or three years ago is practically nonexistant, although I remember things I'd learned then, so it doesn't really matter. The only thing
i'd REALLY call a disability however would be my weight- obesity is depressingly restricting. Having a hard time moving your own weight or fitting into your own clothes is awful.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:56 PM   #52
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Yah, I know, dredging up an 'ole thread and all (but it has already been resuscitated a few times already). I have mild CP (mild enough that it was not diagnosed until I was already in the Army, where I was promptly booted out with non-veteran status due to pre-existing condition). Yes, I go look, and walk, a little funny. I am a bit grumpy about it because it is just enough to mess up my life and not enough to get any points for.

The real problem is my knee. It just plain hurts to walk at times (I am now over 40); so, riding is great. I keep wondering if I can get a letter from my doctor that would identify the bicycle as a mobility device. Has anyone ever tried?
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Old 09-09-07, 07:51 PM   #53
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Since 1991, I've had 8 spinal surgeries which include 2 laminectomies, 3 lumbar fusions, torn fascia repair , Marlex mesh implantation, adhesiolysis, and multiple minor procedures. I was told by my Dr's in the early 90's that i would never be able to ride a bike, work or walk normally again. I didn't accept that and worked my butt off to be able to ride again. I now have an implanted intrathecal (morphine) pump and it helps quite a bit with the spinal pain. (That's where the "Bionic" part of my handle comes from).
In 2000, I tore the ligaments holding my sacroiliac joint together and now have major hyper-mobility issues there. Two weeks ago I re-sprained my right SI joint and have been in some of the worst pain I've ever experienced since then. Until the cortisone injection I had kicks in, I'm on a pain cocktail of Percocet, Dilauded, and Valium. Yuck!
Robert - one of my spinal surgeons fused me in a slight flexion (forward) position so I could possibly ride again. He's the one who labeled me the "Endorphin Junkie". Thanks to him and my extreme bullheadedness, I'm back to riding hard with the guys.
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Old 09-09-07, 10:20 PM   #54
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Mild scoliosis and kyphosis. My left leg is shorter than my right, by about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch.

My self-diagnosed ADD (ADHD-I) doesn't count in my opinion, since ADD doesn't affect cycling in any way. But others have listed it, so...
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Old 09-09-07, 10:32 PM   #55
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I have Tourette Syndrome. I have it *somewhat* under control and can sometimes hold it in long enough to get thru a new meeting with people and them never have a clue.
I also suffer from Cluster Headaches (suicide headaches) that started about 5 years ago. This can be so disabling that I have to stay in my hom on an oxygen tank and popping steroids for days at a time.
One of my doctors at the headache institute in Ann Arbor has a theory that the two are linked because there is some evidence that both are caused by something with the hypothalamus.

One of the benefits of having Tourette's is that it causes me to think in different ways than most people and to concentrate on mundane things. In fact, I know how many bubbles were at the top of my soda bottle a few minutes ago, and was using that number to play math games in my head. And I can't help but do it, I have to do it.




Oh, and I'm married.
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Old 09-09-07, 10:34 PM   #56
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Since 1991, I've had 8 spinal surgeries which include 2 laminectomies, 3 lumbar fusions, torn fascia repair , Marlex mesh implantation, adhesiolysis, and multiple minor procedures. I was told by my Dr's in the early 90's that i would never be able to ride a bike, work or walk normally again. I didn't accept that and worked my butt off to be able to ride again. I now have an implanted intrathecal (morphine) pump and it helps quite a bit with the spinal pain. (That's where the "Bionic" part of my handle comes from).
In 2000, I tore the ligaments holding my sacroiliac joint together and now have major hyper-mobility issues there. Two weeks ago I re-sprained my right SI joint and have been in some of the worst pain I've ever experienced since then. Until the cortisone injection I had kicks in, I'm on a pain cocktail of Percocet, Dilauded, and Valium. Yuck!
Robert - one of my spinal surgeons fused me in a slight flexion (forward) position so I could possibly ride again. He's the one who labeled me the "Endorphin Junkie". Thanks to him and my extreme bullheadedness, I'm back to riding hard with the guys.
Pammy, you have my most sincere admiration. I have back troubles (too many years picking up heavy things when I thought I was invincible) and it can be so debilitating--but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what you've overcome.

The phrase "tore the ligaments holding my sacroiliac joints together" about made me come out of my seat. Yeouch!!
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Old 09-09-07, 11:10 PM   #57
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Has anyone with different length legs (mine is about 2cm) ever tried different length crank arms? I find that no matter what I do, after a few weeks of riding, my seat will always be canted to one side.
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Old 09-09-07, 11:13 PM   #58
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Has anyone with different length legs (mine is about 2cm) ever tried different length crank arms? I find that no matter what I do, after a few weeks of riding, my seat will always be canted to one side.
My leg length difference doesn't seem to affect my riding at all. Never had a problem with it.
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Old 09-10-07, 04:20 AM   #59
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Has anyone with different length legs (mine is about 2cm) ever tried different length crank arms? I find that no matter what I do, after a few weeks of riding, my seat will always be canted to one side.
I don't have different leg lengths, but because of my particular amputation, my right "knee" joint isn't at the same height as my actual knee, and I have a reduced range of motion.

When I was a kid, I used a shorter crank on one side to make up for the fact I can't bend my right leg more than about 90 degrees. I've since found that if my seat is at the proper height and if I move my right foot's clipless cleats back (or just put my foot farther forward on the pedal), I don't need to change the crank length. This is especially great on climbs out of the saddle... the short crank really kills your power!
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Old 05-18-11, 02:02 PM   #60
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In my original post at the start of this thread, I stated "Disabilities can seriously affect who people are and what they do in life. Even in this day and age society is long on what people with disabilities are unable to do and short on means and alternatives to compensate."

I mentioned my disabilities of legal blindness brought on by Toxoplasmosis (before birth), Epilepsy (1983), Glaucoma (2007) and what I do to compensate for them. I neglected to mention that disabilities can affect people in unexpected and unfortunate ways. For example, eyedrops in themselves didn't hold back the effects of Glaucoma. I have had to go through several procedures of eye surgery. While recovering each time, life sucked as I had to live like a couch potato and not do anything that could cause pressure to the eye (bicycling included). Today I live normally with a degree of bluriness in the left eye. To compensate, the lenses to my Ocutech (eyeglasses) have been updated and I'm back to bicycling again.

I know I revived an old thread, but for those of you who are new, I'll ask the questions again;

Do you have a disability?
What do you do or have done to compensate for it.

I welcome your discussion.

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Old 05-18-11, 02:28 PM   #61
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I have a significant bilateral hearing loss. I sometimes wonder if I will ever hear the car that runs me over.
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Old 05-18-11, 04:33 PM   #62
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I'm only deaf in my left ear. that's about it i guess.

I've always heard it's rude to say "handicap"
ok, I'm going to hide in a corner now.
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Old 05-18-11, 05:31 PM   #63
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Raises hand, another epileptic.

Severe epilepsy, but it isn't photosensitive. I have to watch my weight I have to stay about a certain level, and when you have seizures you lose a lot of weight. Also shake and move constantly in my sleep. Wake up in pain most of the time. I almost all of the time hear noise.
Twitcty kind of Tourette's few other things.
Scar on brain in auditory and writing sector. I have time placing words with thoughts. No good for a English nerd. I miss words while writing and talking and talking alot, or say and write them twice, micro seizures. Even more so under stress.
And if someone scares me or loud noises I am prone to seizures.
or If I burn to many calories at once it is possible for me to have a seizure.
or get too stressed out or something makes me to unhappy.....the list goes on.
so comfort food really means comfort food.

a lot of you saw the pic from where I ripped my ear off and had it put back on because of a seizure on my bike.
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Old 05-18-11, 05:56 PM   #64
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Jeez, ain't I the boring one.

One leg is slightly longer than the other. Borderline problem - apparently the Doc would consider it a problem at more than 12mm, but I'm just about on that. Always wondered why I swam in circles as a kid.

Gives me some muscle problems in the lower spine, hips and thighs. Basic stuff I can look after with stretching and some physio. 27 years of rowing hasn't helped much either...
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Old 05-18-11, 06:04 PM   #65
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I have fought a running battle with clinical depression. It probably first really effected me after my father died. I was 13. I managed to cope with that, mostly, with light doses of Prozac until about 6 years ago. At that point, I nearly lost two fingers to a table saw, and I have been on a roller coaster since.

It takes a lot of energy to just overcome the minor stresses and inconveniences of daily life. I have been on cocktails of anti-depressants, to the point where they were making me vomit several times a week. I ended up taking myself off the meds, but that led to another bout of depression. I think for me, recently, the worst part of depression has been the overwhelming anger. Little, stupid things leave me ready to yell and scream.

Cycling has been a great help, when I can overcome lethargy brought on by the depression. I am just returning to the bike from a year-long hiatus. My goal, as you can see in my sig is to ride my first century, and make a contribution to cancer research. I am finding having a positive goal to reach for has helped me get moving and taken my focus away from stressors related to work and family.

Would I consider myself truly disabled? Well, not in a traditional sense. Has it added a level of difficulty to my life? Yes, it has.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:16 PM   #66
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I am a disabled veteran due to several issues.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:19 PM   #67
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I have a disability to pass up pie when it's offered.
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Old 05-18-11, 07:30 PM   #68
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Like the OP, I have glaucoma. I've been glasses since like the 3rd grade. When contacts become the rage when I was still a teen, my Doc at the time didn't like the results from the little air gun test and sent me to a specialist, who in turn said there was only one guy in the whole friggin' state that was qualified to help. Two laser surgeries and one procedure on the right eye when I turned 18 to create a permanent drain- the visual acuity suffered big time from that procedure and I refused to let him touch the left eye.

Been dealing with it for roughly 25 years now, mostly unmanaged. Flash forward to the end of 2008. Company had me making nightly runs down the turnpike, and my wife was concerned. Got checked out. The Dr. turned white when he found out what I was doing to make a living. Declared me legally blind, informed me that by law I shouldn't be driving with my vision. Though still with that company, I ended up taking a demotion, lost $2/hr pay, and had my hours reduced. I think my boss at the time was trying to make me quit by cutting my hours back like that...

Unlike the OP, the Dr. wholeheartedly agreed with my interest in cycling, as we were both concerned with the possibility of the onset of Type 2 diabetes (my mom was diagnosed with it about 10 years ago). He just stipulated that I couldn't ride anything like the Tour de France guys, i.e.- drops. And my wife was standing there when he said that, so everytime I start lusting after a drop bar bike, she just gives me that look- ya know?
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Old 05-18-11, 07:45 PM   #69
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This thread is full of hero's, roll on folks!
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Old 05-18-11, 09:49 PM   #70
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Diabetes is trying to have it way with me, and I have a good size dose of ADD. I learned to manage the ADD a long time ago, before I knew I had it. Also red-green color blind as hell. I tend to almost totally fail color blindness tests. I'll miss 19 out of 24 cards in a CB test.

Lastly, Secondary Adrenal Insuffiency, resulting from pituitary tumor treatment. It's well managed with pills and shots but I still have to worry about how I will feel everyday. Can I ride 50 miles? Or crap out at 5 miles. I may feel great for weeks but then bonk fast or have a hypo-tension episode. Could be a hella lot worse. I was the reason I sold the motorcycles and got back on bicycles. So that's good!
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Old 05-18-11, 11:40 PM   #71
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Diabetic, SA-Node irregularity that causes me to have periodic bouts of Atrial Fibrillation, Lupus (Causes arthritis, kidney disease among other things, and UV light causes me to break out in a blotchy red rash that will start bleeding). Also, a pituitary disorder called Empty Sella Syndrome and some hypothyroidism due to thyroid nodules.

All in all, though, I just live day to day and treat each as if it were my last. No regrets, no worries, and live fully.
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Old 05-19-11, 12:20 AM   #72
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I have a diagnosis of CMS (Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome) and a side of permanent nerve damage in my lower back which affects the nerves in my left leg and is the cause of the CMS... my bio-mechanics are all messed up... have limited feeling below the knee and can't feel 2/3 of my left foot so have balance issues, have trouble walking, standing time is limited, cannot sit upright for any length of time and am not supposed to lift anything more than 20 pounds because of compression and axial loading issues.

This causes chronic fatigue as I do not sleep well and my memory is not as sharp as it used to be... have experienced some severe depression when things were at their worst and for a time never thought I would ever be able to ride a bicycle.

It has caused immense financial stress (used to have a 60k/year job and usually worked a second job) as before I started receiving and disability benefits I had to tap into my savings and am unable to work full time or for a full day as there is no consistency to my health.

Some days are bad and some days would be unbearable if I did not know that I would get some reprieve from the pain.

Also have a lot of stress because my condition was caused or worsened by mis-applied treatment and have been battling with the compensation board for three years and despite overwhelming medical evidence they are entrenched in their position and refuse to acknowledge that I had anything more than a minor back strain injury.

I have a great partner who is happy this injury did not affect the fun bits and if things had gone another way I might be in a wheelchair so count myself as being pretty lucky... have some great friends... and the world's greatest kids.

Last year I rode nearly 10,000 km and although I am struggling more this year am still knocking down at least 20 km a day and have completed a few 100 km rides... cycling has been the best therapy as it reduces pain and spasms and has allowed me to stay in pretty good physical shape.

It is what it is and know that many people are in worse shape than I am... I run my own small bicycle repair and wheel building shop and sell vintage parts and have been apprenticing with a master frame builder so that I can perfect my brazing skills. I work when I can and my partner understands I have health limitations, as does he.

Building frames has been a lifelong dream for me... will not let my body keep me from doing this.

Have had to adapt my working technique as I was once a pretty powerful little guy and worked as a machinist but now have to use levers and aids to do what used to be pretty light work and need to built a bike lift to get things up off the floor.

Someday, I want to open a proper shop and have some partners who want to do this who know I can't do as much as I used to but when I do what I do, there are few people who are better at it.
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Old 05-19-11, 02:46 AM   #73
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I too have a leg that is shorter but due to a severe femur break when I was 6. Not much to quantify for a longer crank arm length or anything, but its there. On a comical note my "3rd" "leg" is also not quite as long as I wish it were either but this is due to genetics, but I have not put much thought into correcting it, but have gotten no real complaints. (Im going to regret this in the morning)
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Old 05-22-11, 09:47 AM   #74
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I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or CMT. It's a hereditary peripheral neuropathy that causes your nerves to degenerate starting, typically, in your toes and sometimes fingers and slowly progressing upwards (affects about 1 in 3500 people, but the kind I have is much rarer). The main symptom of this is loss of sensation in the feet, loss of balance from inability to feel when your feet touch the ground, and muscle weakness/atrophy that progresses upwards in the legs. The muscle weakness/loss, in turn, causes structural deformities in the feet and legs. Basically, I have an extremely high arch (like, way higher than ANY normal person), toes that often curl under, and an inability to gain much muscle tone in my calves no matter how much I work them out.

In order to cope with this, I normally wear AFOs (ankle-foot-orthotics) when I'm wearing regular shoes. These are basically semi-rigid carbon fiber leg braces that go up my shins and wrap around my calves, and connect to a rigid foot plate under my feet. Over the foot pad is a custom-designed orthotic foot pad that supports my very high arch. These braces prevent my foot from just sort of "flopping", which they would otherwise have a tendency to do due to the muscle weakness, and allow me to walk mostly normally.

I got back into cycling in part in order to exercise my legs and gain as much muscle tone as possible while I still can (as having stronger upper leg muscles helps to compensate for the weak calves). I can actually bike much more easily than I can walk, because I don't require the same kind of balance that I have problems with (at least when I'm clipped in). Balancing on a bike is more based on inner ear and vision, while balancing while walking requires that you can feel your feet, too. The only real problems I have are that due to my extreme lack of balance I have more problems with dismounting and mounting safely (I'm not able to stand on one leg while unsupported for even a few seconds, which means that it's quite hard for me to get my leg over the bike unless I have something to hold onto with my arm while doing it). Also, because my calves are so weak, I can't stand up on my pedals for very long (and I couldn't do it at all for over a year after I got back into biking). That's not much of a problem though, because I can spin my way up any hill on a paved road while in the saddle (my upper leg muscles are stronger than most people's, because I have to solely rely on them for most of my walking and biking). And, of course, I had to get some custom orthotics made for my bike shoes. One of the more amusing parts of my condition is the extreme contrast in the size of my upper and lower legs.

Anyway, I'm convinced that if I can bike for transportation, 99% of the population would be physically able to if they put some effort into it.
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Old 05-22-11, 09:57 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by redneckwes View Post
This thread is full of hero's, roll on folks!
+1000
I feel fortunate to be in reasonably good health.
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