HOW TO RIDE A BICYCLE

The Pedals

When I first began to ride a bicycle again, I found that it was very difficult to keep the foot of the prosthesis on the pedal. Every time I would get going at a good speed, the foot would fall off causing me to have to slow down and put the foot back onto the pedal. I tried using a "toe clip" or "toe harness" but found that this kept the toes on the pedal but the heel of the prosthesis would turn in toward the bicycle and hit on the side of the bike. I finally decided to use velcro, which really proved to be the best option for me.

By wrapping long strips of velcro around the pedal, and several strips of velcro on my heel, I was able to pedal without the foot falling off and without the heel turning in toward the bike. The velcro keeps the foot in one place and is very easy to separate the foot from the pedal when dismounting from the bicycle.

For the sound leg, I used a "toe clip" or "toe harness". The harness is easy to get into and out of when riding and allows the rider to not only push down with the sound leg but to also pull up with it. This comes in very handy when riding up hills. It may take a while to get used to this set up and it does take some practice.

Mounting and dismounting

To mount the bicycle, I stand on the side of the bike so that my prosthesis is next to the bike. I then lean the bike in toward my body and swing the prosthesis over the bicycle seat from back to front. I then kick the prosthesis out away from the bicycle and put my weight onto the prosthesis so I can place the sound foot into the toe harness.

After placing the sound foot into the toe harness, with the sound foot pedal half way up, I push down on the pedal with the sound leg and I place all my weight onto the pedal while the bike is still rolling. With my weight onto the sound leg pedal, I sit up onto the seat and then I place the heel of the prosthesis onto the pedal using my left hand. The foot is now firmly velcro onto the pedal, I'm at a slow coast due to the initial push on the pedal with the sound leg and I'm ready for the ride.

To dismount the bicycle, I pull the sound foot out of the toe harness and let it hang beside the bicycle, while still rolling. As I stop, I lean to the sound leg side and place the foot onto the ground. I then remove the foot of the prosthesis from the pedal and swing the leg over the seat from front to back.

Another way to dismount is to pull up next to a wall or other sturdy object and place a hand out onto the object while stopping the bicycle. Use the object for balance while you place the sound leg onto the ground.

Seat Height

The seat height is very important when riding a bicycle. When I first began riding again, I noticed that every time the pedal on the prosthesis side was at its highest point, the knee was bent to its maximum angle. I then raised the seat up so that when the pedal on the prosthesis side is at its highest point, the knee is not bent at its maximum angle, making it more comfortable and easier to ride.

The Prosthesis

I've found that it's best to use a proshesis that can be put into a "free swing" setting. Free swing allows the knee to bend back and forth without unnecessary resistance. To keep the socket from getting caught on the seat, I took an old suction socket and had my Prosthesist cut it down below the buttock. Doing so is great for riding, but not for walking. Don't use this method if you are going to do a lot of walking in addition to riding.