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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!"

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Old 07-19-12, 09:07 PM   #1
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What bike should I buy (crosspost with clydesdales forum)

This is a crosspost with the clydesdales forum, where it was suggested you guys may also have some good information for me. Additional info about my situation which may be pertinant: I am an amputee from birth ( most of my right foot), I've always used regular bikes, today was the first time it was suggested to me that pedaling with my heels is wrong/bad.

Last year on a bike ride my hand-me-down Huffy with anaftermarket modified extra long handle bar post, the handles bars sheared off,and somewhat unrelatedly the pedals broke off as well. I haven't had a bike since, but my brother went to price one as a gift and wastold thatbecauseof my 6'3" height and 300+ lbs weight, I would have to get a frame with a special steel alloy at a cost of $1200-$1500. I am a casual rider in that I bike mostly for transportation as I don't drive and that price range is unacceptable to me. I went into a bike shop today and the salesman told me that I didn't need the expensive alloy frame, and was shocked to learn thatthey stillmakethem. Howeverhehad difficultyfitting me on a bike as I apparently have stubby legs with a mere 32" inseam, and ganglyarmswith a 41" reach, further complicating matters is that I prefer to ride in a tall or upright position. Eventually they had to bring out their mechanicwho nearly had a heart attack when I started pedaling with my heels, which is a must since I am an amputee, and he began to discuss doing a custom design to account for all of my peculiarities. Thisis all more than I want to deal with I've been biking since I was a kid and it is my primary form of transportation, I never had these kind of problems with my old Schwinn Blue, before it was stolen, and I am on a budget of only a few hundred dollars. Do I really need a special alloy frame for my weight? Do I really have to go custom? Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 07-20-12, 09:38 AM   #2
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First off, there is no issue pedaling with your heel. In many cases people with prosthesis do so to avoid pinching on the back of the knee joint. Commonly amps will use a shorter crank arm on that side in order to help with that as well, but given that you have no "device", I really can't see the issue.

Beyond that, your weight is on a "borderline" where I wouldn't suggest your using a spec built road bike, the wheel in particular. Your weight will not be an issue for the frame, but stock built wheels may or may not hold up. If you look at a road bike, look for higher spoke count, heavy wheels. If you are looking at fitness (hybrids) or MTB bikes, I don't think you will have issue at all.

Find a shop who has a mechanic or fitter who is used to dealing with "special needs" fittings. It seems fairly apparent to me that this particular fellow is not qualified to help you.
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Old 11-06-12, 12:10 PM   #3
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If you have been happy with riding an old Schwinn then why change the formula? I have the opposite problem of being 5'11" and having 34+" inseam and a very short torso. My wife is 5'4" and is much taller when we sit on the couch side by side. So, I can identify with fitting issues. The older quill internal stems were corrected by using a Nitto Technomic long quill stem to get the bars higher. Most modern bikes utilize an Aheadset style external clamp on quilless stem. With these you would have to size the tallest stem you can find and then utilize a riser bar to get the fit dialed in. Pedaling with your heel should be fine for your application. I pedal in the arch area more with my prosthetic side whereby I use to always pedal on the balls of both feet. Use what you can to get your transportation mode back. Be wary of all the "reasons" why you can't do something without spending tons of money to do it the "correct" way...
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