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  1. #1
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    Biking without arms

    I am an avid bicyclist. I recently married a woman who lost her arms above the elbows in a bus accident. In addition to losing her arms the accident robbed her of the joy of biking. I still go out riding every now and then but not as much as I would like to because she can not go with me. She says she does not mind but I know this is an activity she would really like to do with me. I would appreciate your help in finding a biking solution for her. In general she is a happy woman but to be able bike again would light a new fire in her eyes. She wears prosthetics and I have been trying to think of a way to get the cable that control her hands to be able to operate the shifters. I do not think braking would be a problem as we could use the pedal brakes that are seen on many children's bikes. The biggest problem I think is steering. Without elbows she does not have the control for standard handle bars and it is not safe. Any advise you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Have you considered a tandem?
    LOL The End is Nigh (for 80% of middle class North Americans) - I sneer in their general direction.

  3. #3
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    There is a bicycle that is half recumbent and half upright. It is steered from the back [I think] and the front is a recumbent. This would be just the thing, if only I could remember the builder.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ijgrant's Avatar
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    Maybe a Tandem might work, the stoker doesn't have to steer, as long as she can stay balanced.

    Or Maybe some sort of recumbent tricycle?

  5. #5
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    I have considered a tandem but I am concerned if she can support herself. I am also looking at recumbents as a possible solution.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughrider504 View Post
    There is a bicycle that is half recumbent and half upright. It is steered from the back [I think] and the front is a recumbent. This would be just the thing, if only I could remember the builder.

    Haese makes a bike like this.

    Also, if you are willing to go to a trike or quad, Lightfoot and Human Powered Machines are very good at coming up with creative solutions for differently abled riders.

  7. #7
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    Does anyone have a link for Haese. I tried to google it with no luck.

  8. #8
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    Longbikes Slipstream

  9. #9
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    If this man can't help you--probably no one can:

    http://thebikerack.com/page.cfm?PageID=82

    Good luck, that is so sweet of you .

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Look at a trike, recumbent type, with underseat steering and bar end shifters. I would think the ends of the handlebars could be extended, and she should be able to shift the bar end shifters. Maybe a Keitweisel from the link by East Hill.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  11. #11
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughrider504 View Post
    There is a bicycle that is half recumbent and half upright. It is steered from the back [I think] and the front is a recumbent. This would be just the thing, if only I could remember the builder.
    I think it's called a Pino. An LBS here had one and my SO and I took it out for a spin and it was pretty nice. It's a European brand, Germany, I think.
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  12. #12
    group W bench
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughrider504 View Post
    There is a bicycle that is half recumbent and half upright. It is steered from the back [I think] and the front is a recumbent. This would be just the thing, if only I could remember the builder.
    The bike is called the Viewpoint by Bilenky Cycleshttp://www.bilenky.com/Home.html. We've had the opportunity to test ride one at our shop. Riding in the front is really cool because you feel like you're supended out in midair.
    Light. Strong. Cheap. Pick two. --- Keith Bontrager http://pedalmybike.com/userTrackies/myTrackie3679.jpg

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    Look at a trike, recumbent type, with underseat steering and bar end shifters. I would think the ends of the handlebars could be extended, and she should be able to shift the bar end shifters. Maybe a Keitweisel from the link by East Hill.
    www.catoregon.org/hpm Take a look at their Tritan.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the links. I like the Hase bike but I am still looking at Bikeman's site.

  15. #15
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Also take a look at

    http://www.Ransbikes.com

    They have two good recumbant tandems:

    http://www.ransbikes.com/Screamer07.htm

    http://www.ransbikes.com/Seavo07.htm

    I have a Rans Stratus recumbant, which is a single-seater. But it handles very well. Rans has been in the business for many years, and also makes small planes, so they are not entirely dependent upon the bicycle side of their business. That means they can spend time on R&D.

    One other thought is that your wife needs another point of contact in order to balance correctly. You might want to talk to Rans about this, as they can do some things to help. What I'm thinking about is having bar ends (from mountain biking) attached to the top of the seat, just under her arms. Here's a link for bar ends, but don't buy them:

    http://www.bikemania.biz/Bicycle_Bar_Ends_s/166.htm

    You need a bar end-type solution, but it should be worked out with the manufacturer of the bicycle. If you decide on a recumbant bicycle, contact the manufacturer, and tell them of these needs. It is possible that they can figure out a better solution than what I've mentioned above. For instance, the bar ends will not allow you to attach them in the middle of a seat, as you need to find an end to fit them over. But it may be possible to position them in some part of the manufacturing process. The manufacturer could help you out here.

    But that third point of contact is what your wife needs to correctly balance on the recumbant. It is also possible that the seat, if the seat back is allowed to become less stretched (the Rans seat has tight-fitting mesh, for instance), so that she can sit back into the seat, she would also have more control.

    I have worked in the field of ergonomics for quite a while, and I think that your wife would really enjoy this kind of bicycling on a tandem recumbant. Good luck, and let us know how this goes.

    John
    John Ratliff

  16. #16
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    How about a recumbent trike with a Shimano Nexus coaster brake hub rigged with some sort of motorcycle-like foot-controlled gearshift?
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  17. #17
    Captain - 2nd in Command djsincla's Avatar
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    The Hase Kettweisel has a shoulder steering option else the Hase Pino is a great tandem.

    http://www.hasebikes.com

    Hase Kettweisel:


    Hase Pino:


    The hase Kettweisel was featured in a 60 minutes episode - A Iraqi boy who lost his arms rides a Kettweisel with shoulder steering.

  18. #18
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    The same concept is also done by Bilenky, in its Viewpoint Tandem.

    To come back to Soulknight questions, a lot depends on the level of cycling she wants to do, whether she wants to be on a tandem or absolutely wants to cycle by herself, etc. You and her should also look into the "fear factor". I have no experience with amputees, but have been in contact with a few blind persons and know that some are fairly fearful, especially if the handicap happened when they were adult.

    Two places you should look for information or ideas for adaptations are your National paralympic cycling teams and the War Amputees, who have done a lot in terms of special adaptations for children. You may have a similar group in U.S. and some of their ideas should also apply to an adult.

    As for your considerations, I think that stability on the bike and even steering would be the least of her problems. Shoulder flexibility should take care of the necessary movements for that. Coaster brakes work on low-speed bikes, but that automatically exclude any gearing (hub or derailleur based). I suspect it would be possible to design/modify brake levers and even shifter levers so they could be foot-operated, and that would work much better on a 3-wheel recumbent. A Greenspeed with foot controls would be a great solo machine if she wants performance. But that comes at a price, so she must be prepared for serious cycling!

    At the other end, it would be fairly easy to modify a stock tandem and install a special stoker handlebar designed to fit with her prosthetic arms. Since the stoker doesn't turn, shift or brake, keeping herself stable would be relatively easy. If you go that route, avoid too many bumps and stay away from parked cars in the first rides. The tech tips shown on this site, especially those about the proper method would be especially worthwhile in your situation.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    The Bilenky Viewpoint or Pino by Hasse could be a good solution. She would have a full up front view and no hassle with steering/shifting/braking. Also any of the recumbent tandems could fit the bill.
    Have logged a few miles (in both seating positions) on the orignal design by Counterpoint, years ago.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  20. #20
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonB View Post
    Have you considered a tandem?
    This seems the smart route to me. I'm sure I could come up with something for shifting, but braking is a different story. Oh not that it could not be done, but if shifting is awkward no big deal, worst of the worst is not being able to shift on a hill and a pratfall, no harm really. Braking, not so. A half second delay braking (getting the 'hands' to the brake lever or whatever) could be a disaster.

    Oops just thought of a workable solo. Old style internal hub bikes, where at least for the rear braking is by backpedaling. It is limited, no question, but workable for flat rides.

    Perhaps a bit of each? If it works well then think of something trick for a solo bike.

  21. #21
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Thanks

    I really like the tandem with the bent as I am in the same position with my friend. Only problem now is cash. I also never thought of the shoulder steer, but that is what he needs to get around.

  22. #22
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    I donate to this program, good people http://www.borp.org/

  23. #23
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    If you do a little surfing on the net, you might be able to find the proper channels by which to get the bike at a reduced price (if not free). There are tons of government programs that pay for things like this so people can get back to living as normal of a life as they can. The company that builds the bike you like might even be able to help you find those programs.

    -Nate
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    There has been a commercial running up here from The War Amps showing a teen ager with an amputation above the elbow riding his bicycle with a special prosthetic.

    I emailed them asking for some information about this.

  25. #25
    Opt-in Member GreenGrasshoppr's Avatar
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    These guys seem to have a solution for cycling amputees
    http://www.prostheticarm.com/index.html

    However, there's no mention on how it/if works with double arm amputees...

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