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Category: Bike

Keywords: ride bike with a prosthetic arm; riding bike with a prosthetic arm; how to ride a bike after arm amputation; riding a bike with a prosthetic hand; bicycle riding with prosthesis;

Wie baue ich ein Fahrrad / Velo um für das Fahren mit einseitiger Armamputation? [Erfahrungsberichte / Vorschläge / Anleitung]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Wie baue ich ein Fahrrad / Velo um für das Fahren mit einseitiger Armamputation? [Erfahrungsberichte / Vorschläge / Anleitung]; published August 29, 2019, 16:36; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=10034.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Wie baue ich ein Fahrrad / Velo um für das Fahren mit einseitiger Armamputation? [Erfahrungsberichte / Vorschläge / Anleitung]}}, month = {August},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=10034}}


Für das Fahrradfahren mit Armamputation (bei mir: Unterarmamputation rechts) habe ich inzwischen einige praktische Erfahrungen gesammelt. Diese sind hier zusammengestellt.

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Adapting mountain bike (CUBE ACID 29", 2019) for left handed use [photos]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Adapting mountain bike (CUBE ACID 29", 2019) for left handed use [photos]; published August 10, 2019, 10:17; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9900.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Adapting mountain bike (CUBE ACID 29", 2019) for left handed use [photos]}}, month = {August},year = {2019}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9900}}


"Last year, South Africa's Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), a three-time UCI World Champion, won a record extending 20th Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland. What made these wins unique was that they were the first World Cup events to be won on a bike with 29" wheels. (..) So does this mean the debate is over, and 29" wheels have replaced 27.5" ones? Not so fast!"-- Thinking about wheels? Michal Cerveny [UCI news]

As my trusted old Cube bike died due to age (profuse hydraulic leaks, spare parts > 1 month away, while on bike holidays) it was clear I had to replace it. So I bought the useful (but not overly expensive) CUBE ACID, with 29" wheels, model year 2019, for something over 900 Euros. The dealer gave me a lower price than the indicated / recommended one.

More history is here [link] with my coolest bike mod so far being the Colnago road bike with switched Ultegra levers [link].

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Remote controlled turn signal for bicycle [upgrade]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Remote controlled turn signal for bicycle [upgrade]; published August 29, 2018, 19:45; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8470.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Remote controlled turn signal for bicycle [upgrade]}}, month = {August},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8470}}


With one armed biking, giving proper bike turn signals is usually not possible.

The trick therefore consists in a technical solution to indicate turns.

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Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - second approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - second approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]; published January 27, 2018, 15:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8196.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - second approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]}}, month = {January},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=8196}}


After a first approach, where also the history and idea where it came from is detailed [link], I now set up and tested a second approach to modifying my Colnago C40 carbon bike with a triple chainring Shimano Ultegra chainset.

The extensive testing of my first approach that I had performed there lead to a range of concise detailed issues and problems. There were now addressed, all, and thus a second (and significantly better) approach resulted.

As stated before, no disability sports advocate specializing in road bikes and no bicycle mechanic specializing in individualization and custom solutions over the years ever thought this was possible in this way. They all said it could not be done. And I had asked a few of them, since it had bugged me a lot. And as I had sold my Cannondale road bike after the amputation, thinking there was no way, I now got myself a road bike back and decided to go down my own path to really use it the way it is meant to be used.

Generally and as part of riding a road bike, I wanted fast and comfortable gear switching, fast and accessible and comfortable braking, and I wanted to be able to enjoy various and if possible equally comfortable sitting positions or body positions. A great road bike trip may be a lot longer than a fast mountain bike trip into the forest. Last but not the least, as amputee my stump usually would suffer from vibration induced pain after 20 minutes  particularly with hard connectors such as the Mert or Freelock adapters, so padding definitely was an issue.

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Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - first approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - first approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]; published December 3, 2017, 15:11; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7816.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying Shimano Ultegra road bike setup on a Colnago C40 for left handed use - first approach [technical right below elbow amputee core focus work / bike adaptation]}}, month = {December},year = {2017}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=7816}}


I got myself a Colgnago C40 carbon road bike / race bike / Rennrad for leisure amateur purposes. That is, for the colloquial ride. With that, I am not a professional or competitive racer. Modifying my Shimano Ultegra road bike setup for left handed use therefore aims towards leisure purposes.

How to go about riding a road bike as arm amputee. This is the first approach and test. If you are after the improved set-up, head over to the page with the second approach [link] because that really worked a lot better.

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Stel Orthopedie Freelock - first test riding modified 1981 Gerber race bike

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stel Orthopedie Freelock - first test riding modified 1981 Gerber race bike; published April 28, 2016, 10:14; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5867.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stel Orthopedie Freelock - first test riding modified 1981 Gerber race bike}}, month = {April},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5867}}


I ordered a bike adapter termed "Freelock" from Stel Orthopedie in the Netherlands.

The device is a socket-mount only piece; there are no required handle bar mounts (as the Mert hand essentially is a two-piece adapter).

The Freelock metal adapter goes on the arm, obviously. But it ships with a hard plastic grip to put on the bike handle bar, that appears to be specially crafted, but due to that hard plastic grip's smooth and hard surface I figured better to use normal soft rubber handle bar covers - better angulation, softer shocks, better dampening, easier overall also with shifting use across several bikes. The Mert hand is great as it works so well, but it is a bitch to always reposition the handle bar side part of the quick release adapter.

The Freelock also has a quick release mechanism. The "thumb" pulls out and the spring (black plastic button to turn screw) can be set from anywhere between totally light weight to insanely tight.

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Bimanual activities beyond comfort zone - bike tour over Stelvio Pass [yoo hoo]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Bimanual activities beyond comfort zone - bike tour over Stelvio Pass [yoo hoo]; published July 5, 2015, 10:27; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5030.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Bimanual activities beyond comfort zone - bike tour over Stelvio Pass [yoo hoo]}}, month = {July},year = {2015}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5030}}


Usually, the simple and bare if not almost violent beauty of hard work gets forgotten. This is, when one focuses only on "bionic" arms which seems to be a current societal and academic obsession.

Prosthetic arms are only really needed, however, and that is if one does a truly bimanual activity. That is something one can not really do that well with one arm. Given that other bikers bike one armed, my aging body does a lot better with posture correction on the bike (link) and a more rather than less symmetric posture. With that I use a Mert arm (link) to ride my bike(s) (link) which I do entirely recreationally (link). Recreationally does not mean this is easy, or easy to accomplish, or, mild, or boring, or in any other way accessible for the average pansy boy equipped with the average myo arm. Just so we got that out of the way.

So, last week, I biked up, from Prad (South Tyrolia / Alto Adige, Italy), to the Stelvio Pass (from Wikipedia: the Stelvio Pass (Italian: Passo dello Stelvio; German: Stilfser Joch) is a mountain pass in northern Italy, at an elevation of 2,757 m (9,045 ft) above sea level. It is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second highest in the Alps, just 13 m (43 ft) below France's Col de l'Iseran (2,770 m (9,088 ft)), over the Umbrail Pass, via Santa Maria, Mustair and Glurns back to Prad, where we then attended the swimming pool.

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Biking, arm "limb difference" and lower back pain [setting up bike correctly]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Biking, arm "limb difference" and lower back pain [setting up bike correctly]; published June 19, 2015, 19:20; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=4993.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Biking, arm "limb difference" and lower back pain [setting up bike correctly]}}, month = {June},year = {2015}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=4993}}


To bike - particularly on serious uphill sections - can entail serious lower back pain. Just as with getting a prosthetic arm to fit and work for me, getting a bike to fit me and work for me seems to be tedious and hard work, and requires attention to detail. That does not mean it should not be done however. All I am saying is it takes attention and love to detail. And, possibly, know-how.

At first, a rather small uphill ride (+400m) would cause serious back pains.

bike1

 

Here is how I addressed that.

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BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 SORA review - riding bike fast (with Mert hand, and concession to comfort)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 SORA review - riding bike fast (with Mert hand, and concession to comfort); published March 2, 2015, 18:38; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=4396.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 SORA review - riding bike fast (with Mert hand, and concession to comfort)}}, month = {March},year = {2015}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=4396}}


To keep up with the SO's race bike riding and on her special request, I needed something to ride fast.

Now (edited Dec 2017), this has been superseded by a carbon road bike modification where I modified a Shimano Ultegra brake and shifter lever set for use [link]. If you are after the fastest, coolest, lightest, then better go there maybe.

Also, a different prosthetic approach is used there: a VC body powered prehensor.

Here, a fixed adapter with permament position for the whole bike ride has been available at the time I performed this choice of materials and modifications.

The case for flat handle bars

There are somewhat uncomfortable iliosacral joint issues that many bikers around my age have. There is the issue of having to move the shifters and levers to the left side on the handlebar. So the BMC Alpenchallenge with its conventional sitting position and a horizontal handle bar seemed like the obvious choice. Rather than a race or road bike setup.

The shop sales person the advised me to get the Shimano SORA version. So this made my choice a BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 SORA. Not the belt variation, which was definitely the right choice.

Gear ratio

The BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 SORA comes with a 3550 50/34 chainwheels and a HG50 11-32 cassette. Thus, a 50/11 gear ratio for the Shimano SORA  contrasts with a 50/19 as maximal gear ratio for the belt drive. So the conventional and not very expensive SORA transmission clearly wins the speed question.

Now, BMC introduced the Alpenchallenger line specifically for road bicycle riders that wanted the conventional "Herrenvelo" format. This is definitely a real bicycle (not some motorized gadget). It wanted to go just as fast as we rode our good old Swiss Allegro "Herrenvelos" back in the days: fast as hell. In other words, the Alpenchallenger was introduced as a commuter bike that can serve to chase e-bikes.

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Mountain bike riding [why not, why, where]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Mountain bike riding [why not, why, where]; published November 23, 2014, 23:28; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3728.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Mountain bike riding [why not, why, where]}}, month = {November},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3728}}


As it appears, I do consider what they call modern prosthetic arms - and I do wonder: what do these manufacturers consider "a life", what do they consider liveable, important, what are goals for them, how do they go about activities? Do they believe I, as the arm amputee they seem to see me as, am but a doll to them? Is becoming a doll what all research tries to achieve these days?

Hans Georg Näder, CEO of Otto Bock - one of the really big prosthetic component manufacturers and one of the biggest companies to technically (as well as in terms of customer service) discouraging people to wear body powered arms - himself is not into motored powered ships. He is not so much into electronic gadgets as in computerized solar powered vehicles or anything like that. He is not into remote controlled helicopters. He is not into new cell phones. Nothing similarly unnerving as the gadgets he tries to promote for us. No. Far from that. Get that: he is into yachts. The manual craft of sailing. That is probably also as close as body powered gets for a person like him, with a somewhat increased body mass index. Now, why would I regard things any differently? Why would Otto Bock not embrace that I see things just as their CEO?

Because one thing is for sure - no one with an osseointegrated or myoelectric bionic hand  is fit for that type of thing. Criss-crossing the country side. Full pull, full push, full vibration, full sweat, all temperatures, full bangs.

Note: you will not get the juicy bits on camera here. Either I hold the camera while riding. Or I really ride the bike also using brakes and all. But for fast riding and downhill rides, I cannot at the same time record the events.

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Modifying mountain bike for left handed riding [no extra part except Mert hand]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying mountain bike for left handed riding [no extra part except Mert hand]; published November 16, 2014, 22:17; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3704.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Modifying mountain bike for left handed riding [no extra part except Mert hand]}}, month = {November},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3704}}


I just switched over the control parts of this mountain bike (Cube Limited 2011, a hard tail mountain bike with hydraulic Magura brakes) for left handed use.

Together with other works I did this over the course of the last few weeks, as it involved a bit of testing, finding the right position for the controls and trial and error. Also I used this to establish what I want for my road bike (currently work in progress, see future post). As I will have been getting quite a number of extra parts to set up the road bike (thumbies, cable stops, special brake levers, new brakes, etc), not using any particular extra parts for his one is a feature too.

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Bicycle works - swapping pedals [trick]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Bicycle works - swapping pedals [trick]; published November 10, 2014, 21:54; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3666.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Bicycle works - swapping pedals [trick]}}, month = {November},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=3666}}


When swapping bike pedals, screw torque can be a real problem to overcome. Here is one solution I found works very well.

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1981 Gerber race bike modified for left handed / one handed riding [howto: brake lever]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - 1981 Gerber race bike modified for left handed / one handed riding [howto: brake lever]; published August 4, 2013, 06:42; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=1733.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574227803, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - 1981 Gerber race bike modified for left handed / one handed riding [howto: brake lever]}}, month = {August},year = {2013}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=1733}}


Summer  is coming and I now get back to street biking (not just off road riding). As changing gear levers can be a bitch, I decided to go with an old bike with frame mounted gear levers (rather than handle bar mounted levers). So I bought this 1981 Gerber race bicycle. Very elegant.

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