2212 Sullivan Trail Forks Township Pa. 18040 610-258-2963
What’s a Handcycle
The Handcycle was developed by a cyclist as a cross training tool. It adapted very well into disabled community. It can be used for exercise, sports, and competition. There are National and International Handcycling organizations that sanction races, rides and other sporting events for Handcycles. Handcycling has become a Paralympic Sport, and most countries have teams for International competition.
Since spotting a handcycle on a street in Utah I have been on a fascinating journey. It looked like something that could help me get into shape for Hip Surgery. I was a distance road bike rider until my hips deteriorated to a point I couldn’t ride a regular bicycle. In my research I found a used handcycle in Wisconsin. In February of 2005 I mailed a certified check for $1300.00 hoping that in a week or so a large box would show up. When the box showed up I started with a labored mile and a half trip from the business to the park and back. As my fitness increased I would go further and faster.
The next step would be racing. My first Race was in Arlington Virginia in 2006. I would find myself on a Criterium Course with some of the best Handcyclist in the United States. In the 30 min race I was lapped a few times by the faster racers, I saw racers crash, and managed to lap a few racers myself. I would end up near the bottom of the list; however I was hooked in racing. Since Arlington in I have traveled up and down the east coast for races and Marathons. In the past 15 years I have completed in over 40 Marathons and dozens of other cycling style races with the Handcycle.
Types of Handcycles
Kneeler Reclined Seat Upright Seat
The kneelers are used by racers with good trunk stability. The Kneelers are the fastest Handcycles in racing. Double amputees find the kneelers the best choice for racing. The reclined Seat is the most aerodynamic Handcycle. The reclined seat is the most popular in racing and can work with any disability. The upright seat is a good starting point in Handcycling. They are easy to learn on provide good visibility. The upright seat can be used for racing or recreation and touring.
Types of Races
The Handcycle is classified as a cycling and is sanctioned to race in National and international cycling events. Time Trial; is a distance race. The racers start at 30 second intervals and race a distance normally less then 10 miles. A Criterium is a closed course race with a pre determined time. Criterium races are between 30 and 45 minutes the racer who has gone the furthest wins the race. Most Criterium are 1/2 to 1 mile closed course with 4 or more corners. Criterium' s are the most exciting races with close head to head racing. Road Racing is just as it sounds racing out on the open road. They can be a loop or a point to point race. Most Road Races are 25 miles or more.
Handcycles are sometimes allowed to race in running events. The most popular distance is Marathons 26.2 miles. A Handcycle can cover a Marathon distance in less then an hour and a half. My fastest Marathon is 1 hour 35 min.
Contact me if you are looking for further information or want to try a Handcycle.
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Adaptive sports has been around since post World War II, However it wasn’t until Bob Hall finished the Boston Marathon in 1975 that adaptive road sports hit the radar.
The first adaptive racers competed with standard wheelchairs over the years they have evolved into racing models that have little resemblance to a wheelchair. A racing wheelchair or push-rim as they are often referred too is mostly custom made with prices starting about $3000.00 and up. A set of racing wheels can top $2000.00. The modern push-rim can be difficult to race. The seating position is cramped the art of propelling it is hard on the hands and shoulders.
The evolution to the Handcycle opened up adaptive road sports to a wider range of disabilities as the handcycle is easy to learn and easier on the joints. However the question is dose the Handcycle with its chains sprockets and gears belong in running events?
Do you want to consider the pure intent of the sport, or is your intent to include more people in the sport?
While the US Track and field, the running event sanctioning body doesn’t recognize Handcycles they allow race directors the decision to include Handcycles in Marathons.
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