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Old 09-26-03, 09:39 AM   #1
Fixed Up North
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Riding With One Leg

I have a friend a friend with one leg that wants to get a bike. He has many concerns about where to put his crutches, what kind of bike, how he will pedal/steer, etc. He is considering handbikes, row bikes, recumbants, and riding a regular bike with a clipless pedal. I don't really know what to tell him. I have told him everything I know, including the NYC messenger that gets featured in the bike mags. My friend isn't a fan of prosthetics so that isn't an option.

Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas? Does anyone know any one-legged riders? Any comments will be appreciated.
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Old 09-26-03, 09:50 AM   #2
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I think the best advice is to use a fixed gear with a clipless pedal. That's what the one-legged messenger uses. He carries one crutch along the top tube of the frame.
Fixed gears take a little getting used to. Start with an easy gear, and two brakes. The rear brake is better for controling your downhill speed.
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Old 09-26-03, 10:57 AM   #3
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http://classic.mountainzone.com/mtbi...features/wolf/
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Old 09-26-03, 11:46 AM   #4
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Balance will probably be a problem, esp when he stops. A clipless fixie sound suicidal unless he is a total expert !!
In the UK many disabled club riders chose lightweight racing or touring trikes. Dont laugh, Im not talking about those heavy shopping trikes used by Grey Panthers in Florida retirement towns. These are not recumbents either.
George Longstaff in the UK is probably the best trike builder in the world. Check out his used trikes as well.
Bob Jackson also make them and have better US distribution.

http://www.longstaffcycles.co.uk/tri.../full_page.htm
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Old 09-26-03, 12:02 PM   #5
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Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas? Does anyone know any one-legged riders? Any comments will be appreciated.

I was working a rest stop at our annual local century this past Saturday in Cartersville, Ga. when I noticed a male rider ride up with one leg. He had no prosthesis and no modifications to his bike. I think his amputation was above the knee. He looked to be very fit and of course his leg was solid muscle. I wanted to speak to him and try to get a photo but we were very busy and he got away without me getting to talk to him. I wish I would have been able to talk to him. I would guess he is from the metro Atlanta area but I haven't seen him at a ride befoe. It was quite inspirational knowing that he was at the 54 mile point of a 65/105 mile ride. He may have been doing the 105.
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Old 09-26-03, 12:06 PM   #6
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Yes, a recumbent trike was the first thought that popped into my head as well. Several of them are shown at http://www.recumbent.com/ which is a dealer, but they include links to the various manufacturers' pages. Googling "recumbent trike" or "recumbent tricycle" will produce a lot of hits, too.

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Old 09-26-03, 12:40 PM   #7
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I saw a guy riding who only had one leg- the other one looked to be amputated about mid thigh and he had on a pair of shorter shorts and was chucking along on the lakefront path. Absolutely no modifications to his bike I could see- he was just cycling along. I wanted to stop and ask for a pic, but at the same time, I didn't feel comfortable asking.

I also met a guy in a wheelchair in Italy at a spinning convention who was paralized from the waist down. He had a modified spinning bike- turned the bike upside down and modified the cranks and pedals so that he could turn it with his hands. He had an incredible upper body. Wow!

I think people will find a way to adapt to whatever their circumstances are. I bet if your friend buys that bike, he'll find a way to adapt to the bike or adapt it so that he could use it.

Keep us updated- I'm interested to see where he goes with this.

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Old 09-26-03, 01:13 PM   #8
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There's a pic in a recent Cycling Plus of a guy with no arms whatsoever and two above-the-knee amputations (with prosthetics of course) riding a tandem (he's on the back). If he can ride L'Etape du Tour, you're friend can certainly find something that'll suit him. I'd suggest a trike ('bent or otherwise), purely for stability purposes, but a hand-powered one might not be a bad idea if his good leg isn't as strong as his upper body.
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Old 09-26-03, 01:33 PM   #9
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I've seen that one-legged bike messenger riding in New York City.

I trike would be too far low to the ground but Easy Racers makes one that is fairly high for city riding. It's not too expensive either.

http://www.easyracers.com/ez_3.htm

If he can manage two wheels, the Cannondale recumbent would be a dream. You want a bike that's not too low to the ground so cars can't see you or one that's too high making a fall a quick trip to the hospital.

http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/04/cusa/flavor/CO.html
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Old 09-26-03, 02:37 PM   #10
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I also saw a fellow with only one leg. The other was a prosthesis, definitely up to his knee, perhaps higher (hiden by his clothes). He had a standard road bike and loked like he rides a lot.
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Old 09-26-03, 02:40 PM   #11
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www.oldskooltrack.com

go to pix, search for Dexter...13yrs as a NYC Messenger!
CAN BE DONE!
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Old 09-26-03, 02:55 PM   #12
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Back in the 80's I was frequently passed on uphills by Kyle Underwood a young cyclist from my town who rode quite well with one leg. He was training for the paralympics in Korea. I haven't seen him in years but found this information:

http://www.hanger.com/PandO/news_stories/aca.htm

If you click to the Norton, Ohio store on this website- you will find a phone number; perhaps your friend could speak with him.

Last edited by Louis; 09-26-03 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 09-27-03, 01:04 PM   #13
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I have run into a rider here locally who has only one leg. She rides without a prosthesis, but she uses one for other things. I guess it just gets in the way cycling. Her leg was amputated pretty high up on the thigh too.

She does fine. She rides with a great cadence though. Guess you have to when you are doing one legged pedalling.

Come to think of it, I knew a racing club where one legged pedalling was a standard drill. Just unclip one leg and let it dangle and pedal solely with the other one. It is a great way to perfect your pedal stroke.
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Old 09-27-03, 01:17 PM   #14
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Thanks for all of the remarks. I work on my spin by alternating legs. It really does amplify any irregularities and flat spots in your stroke. I hung out with my friend last night and he seemed pretty interested in some sort of trike. There are a few recumbant stores in the Twin Cities that we might check out.

I will post a picture if he gets one. Complete with some sort of crutch holster. Thanks.
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Old 09-29-03, 12:52 AM   #15
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Clipless or toe clips seem in order (don't rule out the older technology till you've determined which works best in his case).

In Minneapolis, keep in mind those trikes give some winter advantages over 2 wheelers. Less expensive trikes might be options for winter during salt season.

WalMart online has some good prices on folding trikes, 1 and 3 speeds.

Trailmate makes some durable but heavy trikes/quads. That weight might be a traction asset in the snow. Consider the 50 lb Funcycle or 60 lb xcellerator (quad) and upgrade drivetrain. Funcycle would probably get better snow traction than other deltas since its heavier and the rider weight is close to the drive wheel.

Less expensive recumbent trikes like EZ3 and Ameritricruiser might be options for salt season or summer alternatives to the above, with more performance oriented units for summer.

Might consider internal gear hubs since its easier to shift when stopped, you might not need to push it if you stop in the wrong derailuer on stop. Plus its more salt resistant than a derailuer.

Also, consider electric assist. Electrified versions of the EZ3 and Ameritricruiser have been proven.

I spained an ankle recently-carried the cane between the mesh seat back of my recumbent. Should be able to mount a clamp to receive the cruches holding it upright
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Old 03-07-05, 05:18 AM   #16
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I have two legs, but one of them is only 70% power due to a broken femur injury when I fell from my BikeE on some wet leaves.
I added an electric power assist to the BikeE and I'm having a great time again.
I'm sure a trike is in my future, as I age, and balance starts to become a safety issue. Check out this website for the latest in recumbent power options:

http://www.ecospeed.net/index.html
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Old 03-07-05, 06:00 AM   #17
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There used to be woman that came to the LBS for all her bike needs. She had only a right leg. I talked to her quite a bit, and watched her start and stop. And we talked about options etc.

She rode a tandem at times with her husband. I think this was a way for her to learn to deal with a bike at first.

She put her crutches along the top tube and held them in place with two small bungee cords. Very easy, cheap, and secure. She HAD to have a freewheeling bike to get going. She would balance against something, put her foot at the beginning of the down stroke, push off the support object, and push down with the foot to get going.
She had to have toe clips too. Most of the time when starting she could not get a full pedal revolution the first time. Using the toe clips she could back up her foot to the top of the power stroke and push down a few times until she had enough speed to make a full revolution with the pedal. Because she had her right leg, she had the left crank removed to prevent ride off theft.
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Old 03-07-05, 09:11 AM   #18
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There's an organization that I use to teach with called NHSRA(national Handicap sports and recreation) They are a national organization that teaches sports to the physically challenged. I use to teach skiing but they cover ALL sports ALL over the country. It's a shame they don't want to wear prosthetics. They might be able to throw away their crutches. Also being a below the knee or above the knee can make a big difference. Reading the previous post seems there's lots your friend can and should do. Charlie
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Old 03-07-05, 10:02 AM   #19
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This is an excellent thread....I like the way posters seem to realize that not every challenged person can (or should) be a legendary super-hero....

That said, I really, really enjoyed the "Tale of the Wolfe"...

You haven't lived until you've hopped a mile in a single, slick, clip road shoe.....Don't try this at home!...unless you have wall-to-wall carpet.....
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Old 03-07-05, 11:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter
I think thats the same guy I met. He rode in the SOLO 24 hour WC in whistler 2 years ago. It was nuts so see him navigate some of the climbs considering how long and steep a couple are. Total inspiration.
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Old 03-07-05, 12:11 PM   #21
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A few years ago, while riding the Greg Lemond "Chicago to Milwaukee" ride, a one legged rider blew by me at around the 50 mile mark. I saw the guy at the lunch stop and he was riding without prosthesis. He didn't seem to have any problems stopping or starting.

I suppose it's a little like getting used to riding rollers! When I first started (and sometimes still) I felt like I was riding with one leg.
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Old 03-07-05, 10:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes
There used to be woman that came to the LBS for all her bike needs. She had only a right leg.....
She had to have toe clips too. Most of the time when starting she could not get a full pedal revolution the first time. Using the toe clips she could back up her foot to the top of the power stroke and push down a few times until she had enough speed to make a full revolution with the pedal. Because she had her right leg, she had the left crank removed to prevent ride off theft.

Back in the early 1980s, I read a few touring reports in the Cyclotouriste magazine. Amongst the tour stories were some by a single-legged male cyclist. He was using a single crank on the good side, and a counterweight on the other side, so the pedal of the good leg would come up more easily. He was using a toeclip and cleat so his foot would be attached to the pedal, and used his cane/crutch as a prop to start and stop (don't ask me how, there was no picture or movie of a start). With modern technology, clipless would be more appropriate, but I have no idea of which variety would be the best.

As for gears vs fixed gear, I remember that he had much lower climbing gears than most. Back when I had trouble finding anything lower than 30" (I had a 25" low but had to cobble it myself), most French cyclotouristes were advocating 24 to 27" lows and he had something like 17" or 18" low gear so he could spin effortlessly.
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Old 03-08-05, 09:43 AM   #23
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When I was a bus driver I had a passenger with no legs.....amputations almost to the groin....This was in the days before lifts....He wouldn't have used it anyway....Too slow....


He usually had his 3-year-old son riding his (dare I say) lap....He would roll his light-weight stripped-down (no need for leg supports) chair parallel to the bus just behind the front door......Quick as a wink his son was off his lap & up the stairs.....At the same time, a choreographed dance routine, he grabbed the bus railing, levered his body like Tarzan to the top step in an acrobatic swoop.....Then, right hand low on the railing, he would stretch like Plastic Man, grab the off-side armrest of the chair, fold it & swoop IT to the aisle of the bus....Then, simplicity itself, into the front seat, chair & son tucked neatly out of the way.....All in less time than it takes to tell....


Needless to say....This would always make my day!....
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