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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 02-07-13, 01:31 PM   #1
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Question Finger amputee (advice needed)

Hello, I’m looking for some advice.. What could you recommend for someone who has lost his thumbs, index and middle fingers of both hands ? Is there any way to adapt a normal bike so that it could be comfortable and safe enough to use ? Any hand tools ? Or maybe it has to be a specific bike ? I had a look on recumbent type bikes, but I’d like it to be more of an ordinary-type bike (as much as possible). Thank you for any help !
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Old 02-07-13, 02:56 PM   #2
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Does the person have enough grip to use twist shifters?
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Old 02-07-13, 03:51 PM   #3
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Expensive answer, but electronic shifting is the perfect answer for shifting. The time trial buttons would be easy to operate, and their placement is configurable.

The bigger issue is braking. I think that's a question of how much strength they can generate with their remaining fingers.
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Old 02-07-13, 06:45 PM   #4
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My first thought would be an IGH with coaster brakes.
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Old 02-16-13, 09:57 PM   #5
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There's always the old Bendix 2 speed hub woth a coaster brake set up. Kick back to shift, and harder to brake. My main concern would be griping the bars. Perhaps some type of handloop stirrup grip?
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Old 02-25-13, 09:20 PM   #6
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Hydraulic disc brakes take very little force. They do require a bit more maintenance.
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Old 02-25-13, 09:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
There's always the old Bendix 2 speed hub woth a coaster brake set up. Kick back to shift, and harder to brake. My main concern would be griping the bars. Perhaps some type of handloop stirrup grip?
Sturmey Archer sells new two speed kickback hubs. Odd huh?
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Old 03-20-13, 07:51 AM   #8
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You have received many great ideas to address your particular issues.

From my perspective, there is a broader array of things to consider.
What are the requirements not only do to your physical challenges, but
your riding style and cycling area requirement as well?

Flat, some hills or San Francisco?
Are you looking at going to the grocery and around the block or are you interested
in doing club rides at pace?

What are the likely demands you will be putting on the system.
All weather year around or a few rides during the season as time permits?

Also to consider would be what is your physical shape and how strong are the remaining
digits? How flexible are they?

Electric bicycles are an option. Some you have to pedal and can assist up the hills,
eliminating shifting. Others have a twist or push type throttle or a push button to
engage the motor when needed, limiting or eliminating the need to shift.

To facilitate braking there are some with a regenerative feature. The the motor
converts to a generator, and there is drag introduced in the hub as electricity is
produced, slowing the bike down. This can keep speed constant, even on a long

There are some really out of the box solutions I have seen. A rear brake lever mounted
on the down tube and foot activated. Another bike had a brake lever mounted on the
non-drive side chainstay, activated by the riders heel.

I have seen brake and shift levers with paddle type attachments. There are sometime
solutions which are simple and use common things to adapt

One young boy, born without digits, had handlebar cuffs made for him out of pvc and
a waterbottle cage design. Another person used an old fashioned car steering wheel
spinner to help make riding better for them as they had only a single arm.

Depending on your location, a problem solving LBS may be your best bet for this. They
likely have seen many iterations of bicycles, "customized" for any challenge a rider may
have. Many generally have the "stuff" needed to take on special challenges, and will be
familiar with your riding area. Especially off season, when they have the time to put
some thought into making your ride safe and enjoyable.

Many flat-free miles.
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Old 03-28-13, 08:20 PM   #9
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if it's not for serious riding maybe a foot forward type semi(quasi?)-recumbent type bike. that's what i ride. i don't have a hand issue but since i have little or no weight on my hands i'm just resting them on the bars more or less to guide the bike. i'm also thinking in a braking situation, with coaster brakes, you could set your palms against the bars to brace yourself for the stop.

again, not for something serious, but maybe an old muscle bike type shifter (easier to get a hold of and shift i'm guessing) controling an internal gear wheel with coaster brake.

last a seat with a backrest, since it would be harder to grip the bars and pull against them to accellerate on a foot forward bike.
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