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!"

1 Arm Cycling

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Old 11-23-18, 02:12 AM
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traut
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1 Arm Cycling

HI All

The purpose for starting this thread is to get some guidance on devices/tips for adapting to cycle with 1 arm (if the subject wasn't clear enough).
My case in particular, is a left arm amputation above the elbow.

I apologize in advance if there is an existing thread that already speaks to this and if there is please direct me to it, if there isn't then perhaps this thread can be hijacked by anyone in similar circumstances who needs the advice or just a place to go to for the best solution to their needs.

My story is simple... I was in a motorbike accident and lost my arm left arm. I feel that I can do anything I put my mind to and cycling is the next challenge for me.
I just got myself a road bike and rode around the block a few times to see if I am able to cycle.
I find the keeping the bike straight might be somewhat challenging and anticipate that climbing a hill will be hard.
I feel that I need a device that can attach to the left handlebar and connect to my arm so that i can get enough power and balance into the bike.
Also all the advice for a new cyclist with 1 arm will be great.

Thanks in advance for any input towards a better ride
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Old 11-23-18, 05:12 AM
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Also interested in the question)
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Old 11-24-18, 06:30 AM
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My Daughter is one handed, congenital short arm just below the elbow. I setup her bike like this with an extended MTB bar end on the off side.
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Old 11-24-18, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by traut View Post
I feel that I need a device that can attach to the left handlebar and connect to my arm so that i can get enough power and balance into the bike.
Hi Traut ! I am not aware of such devices, but if you're interested in inventing one, you have to consider what forces are applied to the handlebar :
When you turn left or right, it's your body that is leaning, so don't forget that you need something to help your chest stay "fixed" to the bike otherwise it would be too much on your right hand.
When you brake or climb, a one sided device can create an imbalance and put more effort on your right arm.
So maybe some kind of "saddle" to hold your chest can help alleviate the weight of your upper body from the handlebars and that could make it easier to steer.
BTW, have you considered riding a recumbent bicycle in the meanwhile ?
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Old 11-26-18, 02:20 AM
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traut
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Holytrousers, this is something that I hadnt thought of thank you.
When I get to the point of making an adaptive device I will definitely take this into consideration.

The idea of riding a recumbent bike scares me so I haven't given it any thought tbh.
I'm happy with challenging myself but want to be able to keep up with all the other riders and not keep anyone behind, so me getting a device that would help me push faster and harder would really help.

Having said this I do have an update:
I went on my 1st ride and it wasn't terrible.
I found my arm constantly activated and as I had less time to relax it.
I managed to get someone to move my gears and brakes to the right side, so I have both on 1 side.

I'll send a pic of the modification to my gears... it might help.
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Old 11-26-18, 05:05 AM
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Been riding since my brachial plexus injury paralysed my left arm in 2003 (motorbike also)

Tried sooooooooooooo many different systems and configurations
After 15 years of 1 armed cycling i've not found a way to get stable and comfortable with drop bars

For my MTB i've tried linked brakes, only having a front brake, even tried having a brake on the rear of my saddle so i brake with my ass.
For off-road or slippy conditions on the road this is the best system i've found





For stability
We just have to face facts that we can't honk or pull on the bars like we did, we have to concentrate on spinning and having a smooth seated position
I have tried attaching my paralysed arm to the bars with everything from velcro to a SPD clip system, i crashed every time, ending up with a broken arm

Problem is, if you attach an arm without having grip it severely limits you in your mobility around the bike when riding
Even something as simple as taking a drink will mean your good arm is not controlling your direction, so you're controlling 100% your stability with bad arm

Saying that i use a Hopey steering damper, it does help a little bit
It's not very consistent though
If you start off the ride with it tight, after 10mins it starts to loosen up

They're also ridiculously expensive for what they are, i was quoted $80 to refurbish my old one

After i've said alllllllllllllll of that i have seen people with 1 arm using attachments and they say they like it, there is also a guy on here that rides drops with 1 arm
It's really just a case of trying a few things till you find something you're more comfortable with

Whatever you do it's going to be a compromise though
I've seen many people expecting to come back and have the same control as they had with 2 arms, they start off full of "can do anything" enthusiasm only to disappear after a few months disappointed.

For me i used to like jumps and technical stuff (i mostly ride MTB), i've just had to face facts i can't wheelie off or over obstacles consistently enough to be safe.
So i'm more XC than enduro type riding now, still love it mind
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Old 11-26-18, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
My Daughter is one handed, congenital short arm just below the elbow. I setup her bike like this with an extended MTB bar end on the off side.
did nearly this exact setup, but on the left side, for my nephew. it's also not a serious road bike though (a huffy venice), it has the foot forward frame and a backrest to help with acceleration and pushing up hills. as an aside, for some security he could handle himself, i attached one end of a chain to a loop bolted with the seat post clamp, with a pad lock that is fairly easy to use with one hand (tried it myself and it was possible, him having to get used to one hand all the time it was doable for him also). with one end kind of permanently attached it's doable to secure the bike a chain.



like i said not a real serious bike, but i have seen more serious foot forward examples. you could ask on bentrider online for more knowledgeable answers.

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Old 11-27-18, 06:50 AM
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@gixer by your username I don't need to ask which bike you came short on, but respect for not wasting any time.
You have a lot of years experience with 1 arm but what I really like is your braking setup... simple and easy.

The sad part is that everything in the sport is pricey so i'll have to wait and see what the prosthetist comes up with (which might take very long).
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Old 11-30-18, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by traut View Post
HI All

The purpose for starting this thread is to get some guidance on devices/tips for adapting to cycle with 1 arm (if the subject wasn't clear enough).
My case in particular, is a left arm amputation above the elbow.

I apologize in advance if there is an existing thread that already speaks to this and if there is please direct me to it, if there isn't then perhaps this thread can be hijacked by anyone in similar circumstances who needs the advice or just a place to go to for the best solution to their needs.

My story is simple... I was in a motorbike accident and lost my arm left arm. I feel that I can do anything I put my mind to and cycling is the next challenge for me.
I just got myself a road bike and rode around the block a few times to see if I am able to cycle.
I find the keeping the bike straight might be somewhat challenging and anticipate that climbing a hill will be hard.
I feel that I need a device that can attach to the left handlebar and connect to my arm so that i can get enough power and balance into the bike.
Also all the advice for a new cyclist with 1 arm will be great.

Thanks in advance for any input towards a better ride
Yes, there is a guy I follow who rides one armed. I can't find his specific video but this shows a little of what it could look like


The person I follow has a ball join setup allowing for more natural "wrist" flexion.

There is also a setup that allows for both hydraulic brakes to be setup on a single side, with appropriate engagement so you end up with 60x40 braking power and don't flip over the bars. I will try to track this down to show you.
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Old 11-30-18, 01:28 PM
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This guy is awesome, love his setup, this seems more ideal than a faux quick release hand.


Still trying to track down the brakes
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Old 12-03-18, 12:39 AM
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traut
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Thanks Maelstrom, these vids should definitely help.
I'm waiting on the prosthetists to get back to me with what thety have planned.

Lucky I'm riding a road bike so the need for an adaptive device isn't as much as mtn bike.
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Old 12-03-18, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by traut View Post
@gixer by your username I don't need to ask which bike you came short on, but respect for not wasting any time.
You have a lot of years experience with 1 arm but what I really like is your braking setup... simple and easy.

The sad part is that everything in the sport is pricey so i'll have to wait and see what the prosthetist comes up with (which might take very long).
Oddly enough it was a CBR

Put a lot of time and effort into linked brakes, on the road if you ride in the same sort of conditions and don't spend much time going downhills they work ok
Problem i found was that a rear/front bias that worked well on flat dry road didn't work well on a wet downhill

Part of that is that on steeper road type downhills my weight would be shifter further back on the bike, this meant the front would have less weight on it, so more prone to locking up.
Once the front started locking up with the linked brake setup i found i'd lost most of my braking power

The dual brake setup takes some getting used to, but now i can feather each brake as needed

I think your case with a prosthetic might be one of those rare occurrences where you might be better off than me, as you don't have a useless, floppy arm to get in the way.
Please be careful locking that arm and prosthetic to the bike though, it can be a nightmare if you come off
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