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!"

Bicycle for riders with cerebral palsy

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Old 10-12-18, 09:25 AM
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Dallin
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Bicycle for riders with cerebral palsy

I am on a student engineering team who is looking to build a bicycle for youth with cerebral palsy and wanted to know if anybody out there had experience with this. There are quite a few tricycle options out there, but we would love to build a 2-wheeled bicycle. Other than balancing being difficult, what other potential difficulties would have to be covered? If anybody has any comments, suggestions, or ideas please let me know.

Thanks!
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Old 10-13-18, 03:04 PM
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I'm just a mechanic, I'd say 3 not 2 wheels. for a start.. you're the engineer ..

Studied the physical challenges of a person with CP Yet?

start there..
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Old 10-14-18, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dallin View Post
I am on a student engineering team who is looking to build a bicycle for youth with cerebral palsy and wanted to know if anybody out there had experience with this. There are quite a few tricycle options out there, but we would love to build a 2-wheeled bicycle. Other than balancing being difficult, what other potential difficulties would have to be covered? If anybody has any comments, suggestions, or ideas please let me know.

Thanks!
My wife and I customized ordinary 2-wheel/store bought bicycles for young children with CP and Spina Bifida. My designed/built stabilizers, seat with torso and head support, hand pegs, pedal platforms with leveling, abduction wedge along with fixed gearing, formed handlebars and a pull handle allowed the child to receive beneficial physical AND emotional therapy. We had organizations absorb the cost of the bicycles so they were FREE for the child/family. This 30+ years ago.
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Old 10-17-18, 09:33 AM
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Dallin
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I'm just a mechanic, I'd say 3 not 2 wheels. for a start.. you're the engineer ..

Studied the physical challenges of a person with CP Yet?

start there..
I agree that 3 wheels would be more stable, but our sponsor has asked that we only use 2 wheels like a traditional bicycle. Learning how to balance and engaging the core would be part of the therapy.
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Old 10-17-18, 09:42 AM
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Dallin
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
My wife and I customized ordinary 2-wheel/store bought bicycles for young children with CP and Spina Bifida. My designed/built stabilizers, seat with torso and head support, hand pegs, pedal platforms with leveling, abduction wedge along with fixed gearing, formed handlebars and a pull handle allowed the child to receive beneficial physical AND emotional therapy. We had organizations absorb the cost of the bicycles so they were FREE for the child/family. This 30+ years ago.
This sounds very similar to what we have been asked to do. Do you have any pictures of those projects? Or of the components added?
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Old 10-17-18, 09:55 AM
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I think a lot would depend on the individual.

There is a lot of discussion about push bikes for kids learning to ride. Take the pedals, cranks, & etc off, and just get them to learn to push along with the feet and coast.

Of course, the kids could get too used to using the feet on the ground.

It isn't the same as riding a bike, but I thought it helped my nephew to ride a trailer bike. No control, but some feeling of balance, as well as pedaling practice. The Weehoo bike is a recumbent style, and perhaps gives the kid a little more support.

There is also a KIDZ Tandem. The advantage of that configuration is that it puts the kid up front on the tandem so they can be better monitored by the adult.

There are also recumbent tandems or combination recumbent tandem in the front, and upright bike in the rear.

For bicycles, you might look at several.

Foot Forward
Semi Recumbent
Recumbent

They all get the person lower to the ground, and with the foot forward and semi recumbent, it is easier to adjust the seat to a level where one can get the feet flat on the ground while on the seat.

The recumbent and semi recumbent bikes also tend to have a bit more supportive of seats (if desired).

I'd probably chose pedal brakes (coaster brakes) over hand brakes. Several internal gear hubs can also support pedal brakes.
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Old 10-17-18, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Dallin View Post
This sounds very similar to what we have been asked to do. Do you have any pictures of those projects? Or of the components added?

SORRY, no pics. Stabilizers very similar to mine I built 30 years earlier ---

Example of seat with torso support that you will most likely need to add an additional vertical extension to provide support for helmeted head due to weak neck muscles. Might even require helmet attachment for children with "no cervical strength." https://www.ebay.ca/itm/BICYCLE-LARG...OMj:rk:10:pf:0 Must also have seat/torso straps to secure child IN PLACE.

Handlebars will need to be formed for each child's comfortable hand/arm position with vertical pegs for grasping since many children can only grasp on the vertical. NOTE --- attachment of hand to bars might also be needed.


Platform for placement of shoes with required AFO bracing individually made size specific with heel backing stop and crossing straps to hold shoes on platforms. Platforms require front/back adjust-ability along with pivoting toe in or out. Must provide a link between pedals to keep pedals level so no toe down pedaling.


Abduction wedge with individualize width so knees are kept away from top tube allowing better anatomical leg position.


Fixed LOW GEARING provides rotation at all times since many children will not be able to co-ordinate pedal motion. NOTE --- we had children unable to pedal at all when first presented the bike but many months later developed the skill from passive rotation input.


The PULL HANDLE/BAR will allow attending care taker to guide the bike while encouraging the child.


Quick release for bars and saddle makes it much easier to get child on/off of the bike.
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Old 10-18-18, 11:22 AM
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I have even seen stabilizer wheels added to a Harley Davidson Motorcycle..

Old guy didn't want to quit riding his big bike..
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Old 11-25-18, 10:48 PM
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Important things to know from someone who has CP among his multiple physical challenges. There are different types of Cerebral Palsy. Some are monoplegics (Rare), and one limb affected, some hemiplegics (one side affected), there's diplegics (mainly legs affected), and quadraplegics (all limbs affected). There's also the muscle tone to deal with, there being someone who is hypotonic (low muscle tone), spastic (high muscle tone, very stiff limbs) and there's athetoid (with a lot of involuntary movements) and there's mixed forms of the above. Mine is spastic/athetoid. There's also startle reflex with many people with CP, where tone is easily triggered. Adaptations range from major to mainly lower gear ratios and toe clips as needed. I am spastic/athetoid diplegic. I can ride a MTB/City Bike/Hybrid bike easily, and can handle road bikes if grades very few (as in the Masi Gran Criterium I have visiting privileges on). I also have something of a startle reflex. And am a wheelchair user often, adaptive athlete (I participate in many sports) and also fiercely independent and active. I took my first ride on a MTB today unmodified (it's an old Trek 800 series singletrack, and mine, and in superb condition). I rode 3 miles, had a blast, and a lot of fun. And for the first time outside of an adaptive sports festival, back on a bike for the first time in 29 years. Feels like home. Pardon for the long post. But reality to consider for those dealing with CP people (I also have spina bifida as well)
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