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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 05-12-13, 09:54 PM   #1
Sportsguy
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MS Cycling difficulties

Hi all,

My mother In-law has MS and is having some difficulties. She is currently using a trike which was working very well for her up until this year. She is experiencing greater weakness in her left leg and is finding it near impossible to pedal her bike on slight inclines. I am wondering if an elliptical crank would make things any easier for her?
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Old 05-13-13, 01:25 PM   #2
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Is it a one speed adult trike or a multi-speed recumbent?
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Old 05-13-13, 02:23 PM   #3
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Perhaps toe clips/straps? Then she can pull as well as push with her stronger leg.

"Power Grips" would be a simple solution too.

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Old 05-13-13, 02:36 PM   #4
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You don't have a location in your profile. There is a woman in my area who rides with MS. I've ridden with her once and run into her from time to time. I really admire her. I don't suppose this is your mother in law? If this isn't her, I may be able to contact Jodi for some advice.
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Old 05-13-13, 10:06 PM   #5
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Well, I am in Canada, so I don't think this would be the same person. The toe straps may provide some help. Her trike is a 18 speed adult trike, nothing like the recumbent bikes. She has mention something about an electric assist, but I don't think they make one for this particular bike.
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Old 05-14-13, 12:28 AM   #6
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As long as her trike has standard wheels, you can get a electric assist kit. Bionx sells a kit with battery, controller, and motor in your wheel in place of the hub, for about $5-600.
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Old 05-14-13, 01:44 PM   #7
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I copied your original inquiry to Jodi Lee Ryan, whose photo I posted in my initial response. I just heard back from her. Here's what she said:

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Originally Posted by Jodi Lee Ryan
Hi Steve,
I do have clips on my pedals because my feet won't stay on the pedals without them. Clipping your shoes to the pedal gives you more power when you are pedaling. My right leg is my problem . I had to practice a lot to get it over the top when pedaling. * I use my left leg to pull with as my right leg goes over the top.* My left leg does most of the pedaling on hills.* Y ou have to have clips to do that.

When Robert fitted me to my recumbent, we added a few things to help me as I rode more. One thing was to put my seat forward so I had enough bend in my knees to push hard.

My bike has the steering, brakes and gears by my hips. This gives me the ability to push against the seat and use the grips to help me climb.* It takes awhile to get this all together, but it works.

I can't get up hills very well at all. The rides I do, when the hills are steep, someone will come up behind me and push my recumbent seat.
Training is the only way I can keep riding. I start out each year trying to stay on level ground for a few rides -- mostly I ride alone. Then I choose the smallest hills first. I keep trying to get up them until finally I can do it. I use that hill for training, then find a bigger one. I go backwards down hills as I am training. It is a funny sight.

Unfortunately, Robert at Bicycles, Inc. passed away two months ago. He was a recumbent specialist. He fitted a lot of my friends with disabilities. Maybe you could call Gordon or Eddie and ask if they know of anyone who can fit you to the bike.
Safe Riding Always,
Jodi
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Old 05-24-13, 09:28 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I will pass this on and see what we can come up with.
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Old 07-14-13, 09:53 AM   #9
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I will pass this on and see what we can come up with.
Hey Sportsguy, you might try something like a Shimano Biopace chainring. Whether in the standard position, or rotated to a non-standard position, it may help her to push over the top pedal stroke.

I don't have a specific need for it, but I needed a replacement chainring, and the first inexpensive one I found was a used biopace ring so I figured I'd try it. I use it on my mountain bike, there's definitely a difference in climbing ability. After reading about a professional mtb racer who uses a biopace ring rotated one position forward, I tried it to see how it felt...it's even easier getting over a "stalling" top stroke...actually the dead spot is almost too easy because the pedal stroke now transitions from minimal effort to increased effort, not in a bad way, just not as smooth as I'm accustomed to....it's like my foot flops over the top because of the sudden decrease in pedal effort—possibly useful for her.

I think she'd find a biopace style chainring coupled with pedal straps very effective.

Hope ya read this, and find it useful. Regards.

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Old 07-14-13, 10:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sportsguy View Post
Hi all,

My mother In-law has MS and is having some difficulties. She is currently using a trike which was working very well for her up until this year. She is experiencing greater weakness in her left leg and is finding it near impossible to pedal her bike on slight inclines. I am wondering if an elliptical crank would make things any easier for her?
If she has a triple crank, just change the granny ring to a 24 Tooth Ring.
She will be good to go for hills after that.
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Old 05-14-14, 06:38 AM   #11
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Nice suggestion.
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