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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 03-14-12, 06:14 PM   #1
saam0049
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New member - above knee amputee rider

Suggested I join the forum to have some of my technical questions answered. Am a avid road and mtn biker for a few years now and have ridden in Europe and South America, I am a amputee http://morethanmobility.ca/pages/about.html posted question about a Sram iMotion 9 hub use in bike mechanics section.

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Old 03-14-12, 08:31 PM   #2
punkncat
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BKA here, and wonderful to see you being so active. I got tired of laying on my keester while I could do nothing but lay on my keester after a terrible motorcycle accident. Although I still am not as active as I would like to be, I strive to participate in what I can short of causing further injury. Look forward to hearing about some of your adventures.
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Old 07-25-12, 05:26 PM   #3
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I checked your link - a couple of similarities between you and me - I am 50, an Rt. AKA and also use the C-Leg; however, the big difference would be: you are an athlete who just happens to be an amputee; I am a couch potato looking to increase my cardio.

I use a handcycle, but I'm curious about a couple of things:

1) As an AKA, how do can you muster enough strentgth to bring up the pedal and push down on it with your prosthesis, especially with compromised quad/hamstring muscles?
2) What happen if you have to make a sudden stop and have to lean on your prosthetic side?

I ask because 1) while I have ridden a regular bike, I cannot sustain it for a long period since my left (my non-prosthetic) side quad/hamstring get tired after a short ride and 2) I would only ride on a track (away from traffic) where I don't have to make any sudden stops, and accidentally lean on my prosthetic side.

Very interested to get your thoughts.

Thanks.

-Keith
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Old 07-27-12, 09:03 PM   #4
esther-L
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I am a left below knee amputee, for a bit over 40 years now.

For strength in thigh muscles on amputated side, I think you need to do exercises to build strength outside of biking. It sounds like your muscles are weak enough that just biking will take a very long time to strengthen them. I have no idea what sort of exercise would build those muscles for an A/K. I have been in that place (as a B/K) where some of my muscles are too weak, and biking does not make them stronger because they are so weak. If you have health insurance, you can ask your primary care doctor about getting some PT to prevent overuse injury in your remaining leg.

Many amputees use some sort of pedal retention system. There is a dead spot in strength when bringing the pedal up on the prosthetic side. Toe clips, Power grips, or clipless pedals work. I started with Power grips about 10 years ago - they are easy to get the prosthetic foot into and out of. I switched to clipless pedals at some point.

I always lean on my non-prosthetic side when I stop. You can practice doing this for a sudden stop. I highly recommend taking a Traffic Safety 101 class from www.bikeleague.org - this is one of the skills they will teach you. Practice will develop muscle memory, and you will lean on the non-prosthetic side automatically when you are stopping.

There is a very active A/K amputee in my state who bikes and does triathlons. He is a physical therapist. I know people who know him, but I have not met him.
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Old 07-29-12, 06:40 PM   #5
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The VA published a book about strengthening exercises for lower limb amputees in the early 1990s. One portion of it is available at http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/mon...rlimb/legs.pdf
I have this in print. This is apparently available from google books now at http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=RsXvu1Yo3NIC .
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Old 08-30-12, 04:08 PM   #6
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I'm a new amputee too, erm! over 50 and would like some advice too please

Hi all. I am a AKA only in May this year. I can now walk for a short period on my prosthetic leg with 2 sticks (practising with one and without and still attend physio). I would like to cycle but have not cycled since a child because in my 20's my left leg was fused from a motorbike accident and did not bend at all. This same leg is the one that has been amputated. My wife took up cycling just over 12 months ago. I would like to join her. We would be leisure cyclists on canal towpaths and quiet roads. Does anyone have any tips for me to start cycling with my prosthetic leg. Any advice would be welcome. I have not bought a bike yet so some advice on that would be good too. Thank you
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Old 08-30-12, 06:22 PM   #7
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Read through this forum, you will find a great deal of information already here. Welcome to the forum, Nidge.
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Old 09-03-12, 11:51 AM   #8
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Consider a handcycle as well.
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Old 09-10-12, 05:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nidge View Post
Hi all. I am a AKA only in May this year. I can now walk for a short period on my prosthetic leg with 2 sticks (practising with one and without and still attend physio). I would like to cycle but have not cycled since a child because in my 20's my left leg was fused from a motorbike accident and did not bend at all. This same leg is the one that has been amputated. My wife took up cycling just over 12 months ago. I would like to join her. We would be leisure cyclists on canal towpaths and quiet roads. Does anyone have any tips for me to start cycling with my prosthetic leg. Any advice would be welcome. I have not bought a bike yet so some advice on that would be good too. Thank you
So many options available email me saam@nisa.net, steve - AK Amputee
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Old 08-31-14, 11:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nidge View Post
Hi all. I am a AKA only in May this year. I can now walk for a short period on my prosthetic leg with 2 sticks (practising with one and without and still attend physio). I would like to cycle but have not cycled since a child because in my 20's my left leg was fused from a motorbike accident and did not bend at all. This same leg is the one that has been amputated. My wife took up cycling just over 12 months ago. I would like to join her. We would be leisure cyclists on canal towpaths and quiet roads. Does anyone have any tips for me to start cycling with my prosthetic leg. Any advice would be welcome. I have not bought a bike yet so some advice on that would be good too. Thank you

i have been an AKA for almost 2 yrs(sept). i ride my road bike using total knee but i am told you can use other mechanical knee too. send me an if you are still trying to pick it up. its not that difficult. You wont be able to ride as fast as guys with 2 legs but its still a fun activity
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Old 05-04-15, 02:18 PM   #11
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i have been an AKA for almost 2 yrs(sept). i ride my road bike using total knee but i am told you can use other mechanical knee too. send me an if you are still trying to pick it up. its not that difficult. You wont be able to ride as fast as guys with 2 legs but its still a fun activity
Hi Kaio
I am also a AKA for 15 years also using a total knee prosthetic limb. I have just decided it was time to hit the bike as my young children are moaning that Dad does not come along on any of the family rides. I was wondering what pedal setup you would use ie Toe Strap's. Shoes, Cage's or Cleat's and are there any in particular I should avoid or any that you would recommend. Also any other advice that would help me using the prosthetic setup I have regarding starting, general riding & dismantling.

Many Thanks
Jon & His 2 grumpy Children (Jasmine 9 & Charlie 7)
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Old 05-04-15, 03:07 PM   #12
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Hi Kaio
I am also a AKA for 15 years also using a total knee prosthetic limb. I have just decided it was time to hit the bike as my young children are moaning that Dad does not come along on any of the family rides. I was wondering what pedal setup you would use ie Toe Strap's. Shoes, Cage's or Cleat's and are there any in particular I should avoid or any that you would recommend. Also any other advice that would help me using the prosthetic setup I have regarding starting, general riding & dismantling.

Many Thanks
Jon & His 2 grumpy Children (Jasmine 9 & Charlie 7)

No advice to lend,
but this is a zombie thread,
so start a new one.
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Old 02-11-16, 07:37 AM   #13
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Hey man I really hope you're still active here. I'm a 29 year old above knee amputee as well. I just started an intro thread in this sub forum with some tips I've learned for riding again as an AKA. I didn't need a special prosthesis or anything. I'm rocking an Ossur total knee 2000 which is a low end hydraulic knee leg. It's almost as cheap as they come. Anyways here's what I wrote in my intro, and please message me if you ever wanna talk about any o this stuff. I'd be happy to help and we can learn from each other:

Hi I'm Mark. Been an above knee amputee since October 2012. Due to infections and other complications I didn't get a prosthesis until November 2014. In the late Summer of 2015 I found out it was possible to ride a bicycle again. I was so happy I cried. I knew I'd have to make againdjustments but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Here's what I found out helps with riding a conventional bicycle with an above knee leg amputation and prosthesis:

Gearing: I first rode and dirt jumper for a little while. I like si gle speeds so I can focus on riding and not shifting. I found a 32/16 combo works perfectly. It's easy to pedal uphill but I can still get plenty of speed.

Crankset: Slightly shorter crank arms work great because you don't have to extend your prosthesis as high when the pedal is top dead center. Pedal extensions lengthen the q factor meaning the pedals sit further out from the bike. This is a huge bonus because my heel would always strike the crank arm and would either mess up my foot placement or knock my foot off the pedal. A velcro and cloth pedal strap for your false leg is a must. It keeps your foot from falling off when you're not keeping your false leg under load

Other modifications: I still use a cane. So I got a couple small bungee cord like elastic bands that are used for tying up audio and video cables and things like that. They have a plastic claw shaped clip so you can wrap them around thick objects like a bicycle frame top tube. I used these to mount my cane to the bike frame. A tool bag with anything proprietary to your leg is grest. I'd keep tools in it to adjust my prosthesis if needed as well as my phone as wallet. The baggie your pants he better within reason. Extra thins in your pockets limit your range of motion substantially.

So far I've found that dirt jumpers 26" BMX bikes, fixed gears (using a freewheel ) and freestyle fixed gear or any other single speed bikes work great. I used to ride singletrack and I know how great multiple gears can be, but they're really not needed. Don't let a leg amputation stop you from riding the bike you want to ride!!! If I can do it, you can do it.

If anyone had any questions or just wants someone to talk to about adjusting to life as an amputee then please by all means feel free to message me. You're not alone in this. You are a total badass for not giving up on yourself and I'd be lucky to have he chance to help or even just talk to someone that hard core. Thank you for reading all of that and I really hope something in there helps somebody.
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