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!"

pedals for an amputee

Old 01-20-09, 12:25 AM
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pedals for an amputee

I have been riding clipless, mountain and road, since 1996 or so, but in 2006 I lost a leg in
Afghanistan (Army) and since have been playing around a lot about whether to go clipless or with toeclips on tours. When racing (road or mountain) its obvious. I stick with SPD Multi Release and I am good. My question is..when touring, the loss of effeciency (which for me is magnified a bit), is the ability to go about normal life (Going into stores, museums, etc..) in your opinion is it worth it? Shimano Multi Release are the only clipless that work with my prosthetic leg, so it really is a debate between cycling shoes versus regular walking around shoes.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:09 AM
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I do think it's important to be able to ride securely and walk comfortably in the same shoe. You do a lot of both on tour, and switch back and forth often.

I tour with one pair of shoes - Shimano SPD sandals - which are fine on the bike and are very walkable. They are compatible with SPD cleats, and have a wide, flat, stable bottom, and a deep cleat recess. I wasn't so happy with the Sidi mountain bike shoes I used before - they were good on the bike but not great for walking around - too high a tread made them laterally unstable.

Maybe someone here could offer better one-legged insight: I know the exec director rides a road bike and is an amputee.

Hope this helps at all, happy touring!
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Old 01-20-09, 03:24 AM
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Rivendell bike works has helped out a double amputee set up one of their bikes. There was an article in their rivendell reader. They are in walnut creek, and I am sure would be glad to give you all the information they have about pedals and the like.
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Old 09-17-11, 10:42 PM
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I addressed this issue by using MTB pedals (Crank Bros Eggbeaters in my case) and shoes. The road shoes have the cleat sticking out of the bottom of the shoe as a prominent feature. This causes a toe up position that we cannot replicate with the prosthetic foot and either walk around on your toes, which is difficult, or not use a clipless which causes other challenges. The MTB shoe has the cleat recessed into the shoe and the "tread" of the shoe acts like a channel to direct the foot that has little to no feel onto the cleat. I simply twist heel in to release after stopping.
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Old 10-02-11, 07:11 AM
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I experimented with SPDs for a while... while I love the feel they give me on the bike, I got annoyed with them off the bike. Even in with MTB-style shoes, the rigidity of the shoe combined with an inflexible prosthetic ankle made walking tiring and unnatural (a KA-CHUNK, KA-CHUNK feeling)

I use Powergrips now. I still feel secure when on the bike (though admittedly not quite as much as with clipless), and I can walk normally when off it. That said, this is for commuting rather than touring, so I don't know how they would work for hours and hours in the saddle.
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Old 02-05-12, 02:54 PM
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I am pretty sure I'm the bilateral BKA that Rivendell helped out. I have been an amputee for 6 years. About 10 days before my accident in December 2005, I purchased a Rivendell LongLow tour bike off ebay. It arrived while I was in the hospital. I put it together from a wheelchair. I ended up sending Rivendell a fan letter. Much to my surprise Grant, cycling guru extraordinare, called me on the phone. He later sent me a set of SPD and Eggbeater pedals. I tried to ride my Rivendell but sores on the residuals and difficulty in dismounting made it difficult. I had to let my legs heal.

In 2010 things began to change. My "leg man" made me a set of legs just for riding. They are 3 inches longer then original equipment. This gave me a better range of motion. Also...why not? The Harmony pumps were the game changer. Elevated vacumn held them firmly in place without damage. The socket is cut down in the back to give me full range of motion and prevent damaging the back of the knee.

I tried both pedals and decided on the SPDs. Their cleats are protected by the mountain shoes and I can walk about on them pretty well. It is a challenge with the shoe being so stiff. If you use the SPDs, remember there is one cleat that requires you to kick your heel outboard to exit. Buy the other cleat that lets you go inboard, outboard or straight up.

I discovered the joys of a recumbent trike. The V.A. purchased for me as rehab equipment, which it is. They are not as fast as an upright, but are stable and a lot of fun. They are kind of a Big Wheel on steroids. I have the ICE Adventure. If I had it to do over again, I would go with the sportier (and lower) Sprint or the racing (even lower) Vortex. I use pedal extenders to open up my stance. I am about to go with racing tires and Q-Rotor chain wheels. Amputees have a bad dead spot at 2 to 4 o'clock on the stroke. If you ride a trike, I advise you use short cranks.

One of the reasons I looked at this forum today is because I'm considering putting the Eggbeaters on again and trying them. SPDs give you no float. I find the residuals rotate just a bit to compensate in the sockets. I wanted to research the options. I go back up to Iowa for the 3rd time this Summer to ride RAGBRAI. It is a lot of fun to show folks that losing a limb does not mean you must give up cycling. In the future I'll try to add anything else I learn. Keep on keeping on!!! Oh btw, I've lost 65 lbs over the last year. It all keeps getting better.

Robert Bailey
Baton Rouge, La.
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Old 05-12-12, 10:54 PM
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I need kneesaver pedal adapters, and eggbeater pedals don't work with those.
I have used Look pedals, and Speedplay Frog pedals. Frog cleats stick out a bit even from touring shoe tread, but are walkable on bike tours. I take off shoes to walk in historic houses or B&Bs with wood floors, as I don't want to mark up their floors with cleats.
I can walk carefully with Look cleats in 1 Lake cycling shoe that they don't make any more, that has sort of platform sole build up around the outside of entire shoe sole. I guess they looked too 1970s and did not sell :-)
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Old 03-27-13, 10:54 PM
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Redcat15, I've been an AK since 71. I have also been bitten by the trike bug. I've always had to raise seats to keep the knee from knocking at full bend. Foot is always slipping off the pedals, never thought of pedal extensions. The final draw was falling off when trying to mount up while in FL this winter. I'll be building a tadpole starting next week if the weather warms up here in Indiana. Once I get the frame and seat mocked up I'll work on the crank location that works the best for me. I'm think of making a pedal extension with a cradle for the heel of my shoe now. My legs have all been multi-purpose, a do all special. At 65 now I'm slowing down a bit. Waiting to get my broken carbon fiber socket fixed, I've broke ever leg I've had and fixed a lot of them myself. I can't wait to get the trike built and on the road.
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