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Cycling for the Disabled

Cycling

 What Opportunities Are There?

Bikes are one of the most adaptable types of sporting equipment on the market. Tricycles, companion cycles, recumbent bikes, hand cycles, tandems… There are hundreds of different options out there for cyclists of any ability.

Cycling with a disability isn’t unrealistic. After its introduction into the Paralympics in 1844, its popularity as a competitive sport has continued to grow at an unprecedented speed. It now attracts and accommodates vast levels of interest all over the world.

Read on to discover more about all-ability cycling equipment:

Tricycle

Tricycle bikes offer a little more stability than your standard bike. Whether you choose a traditional tricycle, a tandem attachment or an additional carer control, the tricycle is a great way for both children and adults to enjoy cycling – whatever their ability. Athletes in the Paralympics with conditions such as cerebral palsy or neurological conditions, or athletes who are unable to ride a bicycle, will opt for a tricycle.

Image Courtesy of Quest88

Companion cycle

Companion cycles are great for those who enjoy riding together. Some companion cycles are adapted to allow a wheelchair at the front of the bike, or there’s the classic tandem-companion bike, with ‘pilot’ control, which works well for those who are visually impaired or have learning difficulties. A companion style cycle is a sociable type of bike – working well to improve the confidence of the cycler, particularly if they are just starting out or need assistance on their ride.

Recumbent Bike

Recumbent bikes are often easier to access than standard bicycles. The main benefit of this type of bike is that the handling system is often more responsive than that of a regular bike, making it easier to ride. These bikes are very adaptable to the individual rider with a range of back and leg positions available. It’s is a great choice of bike for riders who prefer using their legs as the main area for their cycling, unlike the tricycle, which requires greater arm strength to steer the bike in the correct direction.

 Hand Cycle

Hand cycles, as the name may suggest, are bikes which are solely powered by the upper body. Like a tricycle, there are three wheels: two rear, and one front wheel. Hand cycles are easy to steer and are great for building upper body strength. Hand cycles improve mobility, and are a popular choice with quadriplegics, but they also benefit a number of other users, such as those with MD or Spina Bifida. From starter hand bikes for children and community sports, to professional performance and sport bikes, there are specialist hand cycling for the disabled available for all abilities and ages.

All ability cycling equipment is, thankfully, very accessible – this post only shows a handful of what’s available out there for keen, all ability, cyclists!

Did you find this post useful? Let us know if you’ve any recommendations, or if you’ve tried any of the products above – we’d love to hear your thoughts!