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  1. #1
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    tandem riding with a paraplegic pilot

    i have a paraplegic friend who wants to pilot a tandem bike. here are the questions i've come up with so far -
    1) will she have to put an excessive amount of pressure on her arms and shoulders? (keeping in mind that she's Very Buff)?
    2)should she disconnect the chain between the pilot and stoker chainrings?

    3) will she be able to adequately balance without the use of her legs?

    my gut response to these concerns is "just do it and see what happens." i think that, with a strong stoker (strong in cycling skills as well as upper and lower body strength), it wouldn't be too hazardous to just ride very slowly for several laps around a flat cul-de-sac to figure out what else needs to be done.
    what do people think?

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Has she consulted with a Physical Therapist and, if so, what have they advised?

    While many paraplegic athletes have successfully competed with handcycles, I am not familiar with any who have been able to ride an upright bicycle for the logical reasons, some of which you allude to in your post, e.g., adjusting weight/balance distribution at the waist and shoulders during steering manuevers and upper body fatigue.

    Has she considered handcycle tandems or just a solo handcycle?

  3. #3
    Hacker Maximus
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    Quote Originally Posted by onceinalifetime
    i have a paraplegic friend who wants to pilot a tandem bike. here are the questions i've come up with so far -
    1) will she have to put an excessive amount of pressure on her arms and shoulders? (keeping in mind that she's Very Buff)?
    2)should she disconnect the chain between the pilot and stoker chainrings?

    3) will she be able to adequately balance without the use of her legs?
    depend in how long her members are you can even strap her extremities fit to the clipless pedal (with out the timing chain) ussing some compatible shoes,maybe the cranks can be rotate a 180 deggres, so the are at the same distance or even use the frame menbers to mount some kind of platforms for her legs to rest (like a little child seat with Feet holders) I will say balance on the seat is the biggest concern since the mass of the legs some how keep you stable in the bike, but then again she most have amazing arms and upper body strenght.

    will be nice to learn from her doctor if is any issues to deal with like execive shaffing from the seat (since the skin does not regenerate as easy of the blood does not flow as well


    my gut response to these concerns is "just do it and see what happens." i think that, with a strong stoker (strong in cycling skills as well as upper and lower body strength), it wouldn't be too hazardous to just ride very slowly for several laps around a flat cul-de-sac to figure out what else needs to be done.
    what do people think?
    I will say go for it,,,,
    just find some nice protecting gear including some elbow pads and go for it, personally i only have experience with blind friends at captains ( i tell them were to go and when to stop the pedal feetback dictates how much to push) and so far we never have a bad moment, I also have a dear paraglegic friend that i ride my motorcycle with,, i just put her light weight wheelchair in my rack and we go on trips, movies and "Walks" she enjoy it very much specially the fact that i treat her as a able person with some shortcomings as oppose to a disable entitty that needs to be help all the time,, hell personally i think her wheels and prettier than many legs and for sure in her spirit, brain and alttitute she is far more able than many (I learn lot from it)...

    Go at it,,,
    Force is never as effective as Leverage.

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    How about a Greenspeed or WhizWheels 3-wheeled tandem? No balance problems and could be built with hand cranks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    How about clamping your bike on a trainer and seeing how she feels with that. When we went to clipless pedals we first spent some time clipping on and off on our trainer. It made us much more comfortable when we actually hit the road.

  6. #6
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    I have a friend who has severe balance problems on her Trike. She can just about move it but does require assistance aswell. Her seat is a very large child seat as used on parents bike that gives her full seat and back support. It may be hard work for parents or friends that go out with her, but it is her highlight on the days she can get out.
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  7. #7
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    I second the motion of the tandem trike. Most manufacturers of these vehicles offer various accessibility aids, like hand cranking. Add Organic Engines Troika to the list of Wiz Wheels and Greenspeed. I also have found a company called S&B Recumbents, that have a lower priced tandem trike and offer hand crank options.

  8. #8
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    paraplegic rides regular road tandem for past 24 years!

    I was an injured athelete(female) in 1985. Before I left the hospital while still in a back brace for T-10/11 injury, my family helped adapt a regular upright tandem so I could ride the back seat while pedaling my legs(that had/have no mobility by placing them in the pedals with straps. Of course this was against the judgement of physical therapist or doctors who wanted me to accept life sitting down. Yet, for 24 years I have hand powered this Santana road bike as well as a mountain tandem bike from the back end with a regular mobilty person who pedals the front, and I rely on for balance starting/stopping. I generally ride 8-10 miles a day, sometimes less, and have ridden as much as 40mi in a day. This action keeps my parayzed legs with some tone and calf muscles (therapists are always surprised at my 'kept' muscle definition for being injured this length of time. I have no motion, but retain fairly normal sensation, this byicycling motion helps rid my legs of spasms and helps eliminate an aggravating electrical like sensation that I attribute to lack of leg motion when I don't ride. I have ridden on paved roads, highways, thru town and small cities as well as many backcountry dirt roads and national park or forest service areas. I can tell you about the specific adaptions on the bicycle as well as my communication system with my riding partners which keep both of us balanced and safe. you may write me a e-mail if you are interested in these details.

  9. #9
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onceinalifetime View Post
    i have a paraplegic friend who wants to pilot a tandem bike. ...
    I don't think balance will be an issue; one doesn't actually ride a bike by balancing it, but rather by steering. If she knows how to steer a bike --perpetually steering into a fall, basically-- then she will have no problem. Did she ride a bike before her injury? If so, then no problem.

    I'd also suggest looking into a Bilenky Viewpoint tandem, where the stoker sits in front and has a spectacular view. These can be set up with hand cranks for the stoker. Not cheap, though.

  10. #10
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    Give it a shot, see what happens. Wear helmets.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

  11. #11
    BrooklynRocks globalrider's Avatar
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    differently abled captain

    A good PT should be able to answer most of these questions in terms of her ability to maintain her balance. My guess is that she could with perhaps modifications/additions to the seat. Rifton is a company that makes adapted trikes of special needs riders and you and or the PT could look at the support options they offer. I would also look recumbent seats which are designed for a different position than a regular seat.
    Charles
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