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Anyone Use A Handcycle?

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Old 09-15-11, 12:02 AM
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HawkOwl
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Anyone Use A Handcycle?

On off days from my PT I've used a handcycle a few times to get the heart pumping and exercise the old ticker. Today as I was chugging along at 35watts and 70rpm I thought it might be an idea to try a street handcycle.

I'm sure they are made because I've seen a couple going down the trails while I've been down in America. But I've never talked to anyone who has used one.

If you have; how are they? Uses? Different like a recumbent, or just different? Hills?
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Old 09-15-11, 12:31 PM
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runner pat
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I do.


It's slower. You won't get your heart rate up as high as a foot powered bike. Less muscle mass
=slower speeds. The feedback as far as muscular effort to aerobic effort is different. You push much harder for the speed you achieve.
It does take a while to build up your upper body endurance enough to get a good workout.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:55 PM
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Forgot to mention. You WILL be seen by drivers and you will get far more room on passing, more respect as a user of the road and far more patience displayed when riding on a narrow road.
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Old 09-15-11, 04:55 PM
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Looks like a nice rig. Could you share some more details about brands, availability, cost and maybe some more comparison to standard two wheel bikes?
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Old 09-15-11, 06:42 PM
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I have seen several handcycles in use on Bicycle Ride Across Georgia by a group of disabled veterans. Very impressive bunch of guys. Funny, but I had never thought of them being ridden by people with the use of their legs.


Dean checks out the hand crank trikes by BluesDawg, on Flickr


hand crank by BluesDawg, on Flickr


another hill on 112 by BluesDawg, on Flickr
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Old 09-15-11, 09:12 PM
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BluesDawg, I was hit on my bicycle and the resulting injuries prevent me from riding a DF. I imagine there are a few able bodied cyclist who ride one but is quite rare.

My bike is an Invacare XLT Pro.
Invacare's line of handcycles run from 2095 for a child's model to almost 8500 for the top of the line racing model.

There are a number of manufacturers but I know very little about their offerings.

Having never ridden a foot pedaled recumbent, I can only assume they're similar, the main differences compared to a DF I've covered the main points.

You will be stared at a LOT.
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Old 09-16-11, 01:13 AM
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Thanks for giving me a place to start. Yes, I can guess they would be attention getting. Especially when you dismount and walk away. But, as those who know me can attest I'm not exactly bashful about being different (I don't have much of a choice). After using the exercise one at the gym and knowing from news reports that some people ride long distances through hilly terrain on them I just have to check it out.
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Old 09-18-11, 10:34 PM
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I am able-bodied. In 1988 I bought a handcycle from a disabled friend. I didn't keep it very long. Back then they were slower than ever, due to improper gearing and the crankarms not being in parallel like they are on modern handcycles. Having the crankarms in parallel is much more efficient.

I was asked to test ride a modern handcycle by the LBS I bought my Worksman Port-O-Trike from (they know I work on my own bikes so they trust me ). They had adjusted the gears and wanted to make sure it shifted ok. This wasn't even a high-performance model and it was much faster than that old prototype I used to have.
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Old 09-19-11, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by runner pat View Post
It's slower.
You're doing it wrong.

Last year I was part of the cycling team hired to escort the elite wheelchair racers who do the New York Marathon course before the runners. In addition to ~30 wheelchair athletes, there were 3 or 4 handcyclists.

Our team captain, who's had this duty for quite a few years in a row & so knows what to expect form elite wheelchair athletes & hand cyclists, assigned the escorts based on our capabilities on the bike. The handcyclists were assigned the fastest escorts from our entire team, all current CAT1 & CAT2 racers.

...and within the first 4 miles of the course, all but one of those (bi)cyclists was dropped by the handcyclists. Totally and completely dropped, their CAT1 & 2 asses handed to them in a paperbag, set on fire, and left on a neighbor's doorstep.

Those handcyclists were handily and easily exceeding 35mph on flat ground. At one point three of them passed me while I was escorting Mr Wheelchair Dude into the final straightaway, and it was like I was standing still. Really impressive to see what looks for all practical purposes like a guy lying flat on his back in the middle of the road fly by at those speeds.
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Old 09-19-11, 12:57 PM
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For anyone interested, there's a new Adaptive Cycling subforum for just these kinds of topics. Not that they aren't interesting to read here - just that there might be a greater number of experienced users whose knowlege could be tapped over there.
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