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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 09-17-11, 09:10 PM   #1
Walter
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Setting your bike up for one hand riding

B/c of a motorcycle-accident inflicted brachial plexus tear I ride with minimal use of my left arm and no real use of my left hand.

The accident was some time ago and I've come up with a number of adaptations.



I've used a brake cable coupler so that the right lever pulls both calipers. The rear derailleur works as normal (Campy Ergo) and I used a Kelly Take-Off to mount a friction shifter for the front derailleur.

My latest and I feel pretty successful modification is hydration. I use a Oasis One-Twelve system with bottles mounted behind my saddle.



Not my bike (no new pics yet) but pretty much the same setup as the bike on the left. There are other TT/triathlon systems that would do the job as well but this one holds a good amount of water (with 2 bottles) and is pretty straightforward and a bit cheaper than most of the others.

Wouldn't be hard to DIY but I couldn't find the valves that come out of the bottom of the bottles.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-20-11, 09:12 PM   #2
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Hey Walter -- it's good to hear from you again. I think I have mentioned that I had two upper limb amputee customers during my stint at Bikecology. One correctly had both brakes set up for single handle operation, whereas the other used only the rear brake, despite my begging him to consider a dual braking system, since most of the stopping power comes from the front.
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Old 09-21-11, 03:40 AM   #3
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I don't think operating both brakes from a single lever is an ideal solution, since there are cases where you'd need to use one brake on its own. A better solution would be to have a front hand brake and rear coaster brake. Using an IGH with inbuilt coaster brake would give you multiple gears and two independent brakes, yet be operable with one hand only.
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Old 09-21-11, 08:05 PM   #4
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Hey Walter -- it's good to hear from you again. I think I have mentioned that I had two upper limb amputee customers during my stint at Bikecology. One correctly had both brakes set up for single handle operation, whereas the other used only the rear brake, despite my begging him to consider a dual braking system, since most of the stopping power comes from the front.
Hi John,

Good to hear from you too. I remember you talking about that. Agree whole-heartedly with you and would go so far to say that if you're going to use one brake it should be the front. Fear of the front brake must be overcome if you ever want to effectively stop. Motorcycling, in a way, got me into this situation but it did teach me to use the front brake when riding on 2 wheels.

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I don't think operating both brakes from a single lever is an ideal solution, since there are cases where you'd need to use one brake on its own. A better solution would be to have a front hand brake and rear coaster brake. Using an IGH with inbuilt coaster brake would give you multiple gears and two independent brakes, yet be operable with one hand only.
Agree and disagree. The rear brake alone is useful for adjusting speed like when descending but true stopping power comes from the front. In my experience I stopped as efficiently when using a front brake alone but I don't have to descend very far or often where I live.

I like IGH bikes but they have limitations when compared to a quality lightweight roadbike. Coasterbrakes are not the most efficient style of brake and don't really allow you to modulate your speed. They're pretty much all or nothing. If I were to set up a commuter your idea is probably pretty close to what I'd do but I like fast rides and even the occasional race so what I've done seems to be the best compromise I've come up with, yet. I may see or be told of a better idea tomorrow though.
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Old 10-09-11, 05:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting this! I'm still recovering and haven't been guaranteed use of my left hand. No front brakes have honestly been my biggest fear in all of this.
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Old 10-14-11, 02:20 PM   #6
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Hi Walter, That hydration modification is really neat. The great thing about cycling is people with varying abilities can make their bikes work for them.. it's such a great sport and unfortunately I think a lot of people give it up simply for the reason that they aren't aware that they can modify a bike to suit their needs. I run a site on recumbent bikes and trikes ( http://recumbentbikeinfo.com ), which are other kinds of bikes that are highly adaptive and truly life changing for some people. Recumbents can be incredibly quick (they hold all the world records for speed), and Trikes in particular (those with 3 wheels) are excellent for people who may have issues with balance or not full use of their arms.
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Old 10-16-11, 07:32 PM   #7
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Hey Lynx,

The hydration isnt so much a mod as it is an actual system. There are a few similar to it. Judging by their websites they seem to be aimed at Tris and dedicated TTers (you know guys who stay in the aero tuck even when sitting in an office chair ) but it works more than fine.

Just be sure the screws that hold the bracket to your saddle haven't vibrated loose. I that stuff gets between your frame and rear tire it can be nasty. Trust me on that.

"My" Wed night ride group has a 'bent rider. Strong dude and those things can carry a ton of tools and etc. He even had a spare tire after the skid (see above) burned through my tire.

Can't draft those things at all though.
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