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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 03-04-10, 03:32 PM   #1
punkncat
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Any BKA's on BF

If there are any fellow below knee amputees on BF I would love to chat with you, see how things are going for you, and get a few tips. I have been a part of an amputee forum, but most posters there were too busy griping and feeling sorry for themselves. I am currently dealing with some issues resulting from the differing biomechanics of riding vs. walking, have been working with my prosthesist to help relieve some issues, but would love some insight from other cyclists in my situation to draw some knowledge from.

Thanks
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Old 03-04-10, 04:01 PM   #2
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I am not and don't have anything personally to contribute, except a recommendation to google "Alex Simmons". He has a good blog and you could probably email him with questions. He's also on the google wattage group.
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Old 03-04-10, 04:23 PM   #3
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Talk to benajah, here, too.
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Old 03-04-10, 04:33 PM   #4
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I don't know any amputees, but over here in Belgium we have this guy Jan Boyen (team Jartazi) who is a full-time pro and won several medals at the paralympics


He trains all the time with the other Belgian professionals... incredibly inspiring story
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Old 03-04-10, 04:46 PM   #5
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This puts a lot of your earlier posts in a totally different light, for me.
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Old 03-04-10, 04:49 PM   #6
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OP, way to go for riding. How do you attach your prosthesis to the pedal? Do you use a click-in (ie. clipless) pedal?
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Old 03-04-10, 05:23 PM   #7
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The guy that runs Paradox Sports in Boulder http://www.paradoxsports.org/index.php is a below the knee amputee, and though his main sport is climbing I've seen him out on a road bike a few times. I bet they could hook you up with a knowledge base.
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Old 03-04-10, 07:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the suggestions and well wishes.

At this time I am using an older leg that I have made adjustments to facilitate riding. I am using a MTB shoe and eggbeaters as I can get into the pedal in any orientation. In a lot of ways cycling is easier than walking for me, but it poses a different set of issues with the prosthesis as you are completing a different motion inside the appliance. That is where I would like to talk to someone who is riding a lot of miles to tell me what device they are using, or more specifically how theirs is made to avoid fit issues, or if they are simply compensating or adjusting their pedal stroke to avoid the problem areas.
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Old 03-04-10, 09:54 PM   #9
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punkncat,
Benajah here. Okay I replied to your PM and can help you out all you need. By the way...all the pictures of higher level BK amputees you see on the web, Alex Simmons, Dory Sellenger, they all have something that looks like a peg leg, with a cleat on the end that attaches directly to the pedal. Now, the peg leg offers two advantages over a traditional prosthetic foot. The first is that you have a more direct power transfer to the pedal, and also without the springiness of a foot you dont lose as much power. The second advantage is that the cleat is effectively where your heel would be, meaning you don't have to bend your knee as much, cutting back on skin breakdown on the back of your knee (I rode from San Francisco to San Diego year before last and lost so much skin I ended up with a nasty infection and almost ended up in the hospital on IV meds). Another trick is to smear chamois butter on the back of your knee, it helps a lot.
I will post some pics of my cycling leg in my next post and explain how I had it made, and why, and how it works. I also made shop drawings of it so if you want a copy you can go to any machine shop and get it made for about 100 bucks.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:02 PM   #10
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[ATTACH]prosthetic 2.jpg[/ATTACH]

I lost my leg in the war, in Afghanistan, so all my prosthetic stuff goes through the VA, and as such, they are too cheap to get me a fancy cycling peg leg made. I have a friend who is a mechanical contractor and we figured out a way to make one out of readily avaliable materials. You can take the drawings to any mechanical fabrication shop and they can make one for you. The bottom is only wide enough to take mtb cleats though. I use speedplay frogs as they are easier for me to rotate out of.
On your end, health insurance might finance getting you a nicer one made. I do get a few comments at races when folks ask where I got it and I tell them I made it.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:04 PM   #11
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I've always wondered how that works... thanks for the post benajah.
I started wondering about cycling mechanics with a prosthetic (specifically clipping in and out) when I saw a Kona Ironman special with Rudy Garcia-Tolson in it. I was floored that the kid rode the full 112 miles with his glutes, that's some impressive strength there (he is an AK so I don't know if his set up would help the OP much though).
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Old 03-04-10, 10:11 PM   #12
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I know Rudy, he is bad a$$. Extremely impressive human being in a lot of respects.
There are a few really high level BK riders. Funny thing is all the really good BK riders I know concentrate mostly on track. I can kind of see why though, when you are 40 miles from nowhere and a screw falls out of your leg, you are kind of screwed.
Jim Penseyers, who lost his leg in Vietnam, did RAAM several times as a relay team with his brother. Another really impressive guy.
I lost my cleat on a long ride once, tried calling my wife, she was out shopping and didn't answer the phone, then my battery died right about time I tried calling a cab. I ended up hitching home.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benajah View Post
[ATTACH]Attachment 140286[/ATTACH]

I lost my leg in the war, in Afghanistan, so all my prosthetic stuff goes through the VA, and as such, they are too cheap to get me a fancy cycling peg leg made. I have a friend who is a mechanical contractor and we figured out a way to make one out of readily avaliable materials. You can take the drawings to any mechanical fabrication shop and they can make one for you. The bottom is only wide enough to take mtb cleats though. I use speedplay frogs as they are easier for me to rotate out of.
On your end, health insurance might finance getting you a nicer one made. I do get a few comments at races when folks ask where I got it and I tell them I made it.
Man, you made your own cycling leg. That's so bad ass.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:38 PM   #14
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Man, you made your own cycling leg. That's so bad ass.
+1
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Old 03-04-10, 10:39 PM   #15
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Benajah, Thanks for the great replies, sent you a PM.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:45 PM   #16
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No worries. I'm still learning how to ride as an amputee myself. It is a lot to learn or figure out on your own, especially about prosthetic stuff.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:37 PM   #17
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please excuse my ignorance, but did you make the carbon fiber fitting yourself as well. Or, did that come from a previously fitted prosthetic leg? I am not in need, but I am just impressed.
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Old 03-05-10, 12:08 AM   #18
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All I can say is I am extremely impressed that you designed your own prosthetic, and I am even more impressed with the determination that both of you have shown to keep pursuing your interests. And to benajah, thank you very much for your service to our country.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:16 AM   #19
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please excuse my ignorance, but did you make the carbon fiber fitting yourself as well. Or, did that come from a previously fitted prosthetic leg? I am not in need, but I am just impressed.
No the carbon fitting, called a socket, is from a prosthetist. I just made the funny bit that fits on the bottom.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:21 AM   #20
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you guys rule.
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Old 03-05-10, 06:16 AM   #21
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Man, you made your own cycling leg. That's so bad ass.
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+1
+1

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Old 03-05-10, 06:22 AM   #22
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i have nothing technical to contribute, but would like to say that you guys are an inspiration.
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Old 03-05-10, 06:38 AM   #23
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i have nothing technical to contribute, but would like to say that you guys are an inspiration.
+1
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Old 03-05-10, 09:04 AM   #24
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I've ridden with a couple btk guys. The strongest one is a great climber and a fearless descender. He's about my age (55) and he uses a fiber foot with a mountain bike SPD cleat bolted on at the ball of the foot.
I haven't asked if he has any problems, but he doesn't seem to while we are riding and with the set-up he has, he can walk around off the bike, too.
He also doesn't mind a little teasing about his foot/leg.
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Old 03-05-10, 09:54 AM   #25
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punkncat,
Benajah here. Okay I replied to your PM and can help you out all you need. By the way...all the pictures of higher level BK amputees you see on the web, Alex Simmons, Dory Sellenger, they all have something that looks like a peg leg, with a cleat on the end that attaches directly to the pedal. Now, the peg leg offers two advantages over a traditional prosthetic foot. The first is that you have a more direct power transfer to the pedal, and also without the springiness of a foot you dont lose as much power. The second advantage is that the cleat is effectively where your heel would be, meaning you don't have to bend your knee as much, cutting back on skin breakdown on the back of your knee (I rode from San Francisco to San Diego year before last and lost so much skin I ended up with a nasty infection and almost ended up in the hospital on IV meds). Another trick is to smear chamois butter on the back of your knee, it helps a lot.
I will post some pics of my cycling leg in my next post and explain how I had it made, and why, and how it works. I also made shop drawings of it so if you want a copy you can go to any machine shop and get it made for about 100 bucks.
I too have nothing to contribute, but just want to add that I am in awe.

I do have a question, though. I am curious about the cleat positioning. You mentioned that the cleat is where the heel would be. Presumably, you have your other cleat in the traditional under-the-ball position? If so, is this a big issue since the pedal stroke is uneven?
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