Amputee Cycling is Easy!
Amputee Cyclist Larry Gardner
Learning to ride on two wheels with one leg was as easy as simply trying it. One day during the summer after my amputation, there was a ten speed bike sitting outside the house, and I just grabbed it, set my prosthetic foot on the left pedal and pushed off.I pushed once around with my good leg and followed through by pushing the pedal on my left side by applying pressure downward with my stump. This pushed the pedal around again, enough for another push with my right leg. That was it! I was off down the street with a big stupid grin on my face, just like the day I learned how to ride a bike as a child.
This day was the beginning of many years of recreational and commuter amputee cycling. I have logged many miles on and off road over the years. I have cycled in
- Dawson City, Yukon
- Whistler, BC
- Pacific Spirit Park, Vancouver
Stanley Park, Vancouver
- English Bay/False Creek, Vancouver
- Spanish Banks, Vancouver
- Downtown Toronto
When I moved to Toronto in the eighties, I decided to trade in my old ten speed for a new mountain bike. The thing I noticed right away was the number of gears. This gave me a lower ratio on the low speeds, which made it possible for me to get much more thrust out of my prosthetic leg, especially when going uphill. I discovered almost the entire city of Toronto on my new Norco Bush Pilot. The deal was, riding on a saddle meant much less weight on my stump. It was actually easier to ride my bike than walk, especially for covering long distances. The mountain bike became my “Mobility Machine” from then on. I could go places on my bike that I probably wouldn’t attempt to walk. And have a blast doing it, too.
I spent many hours cycling downtown Vancouver when I first moved here. I recall that one of the first things I purchased was fenders for my bike and some rain gear. I quickly realized I could now ride year round! I lived at the time in English Bay, so I would cycle Stanley Park a few times a week, and even go off trail a bit, before mountain biking became the sport it is today. I even went on cycling trips to Whistler and the Oregon Coast, as well as the Kettle Valley Railway in the Okanagan.
I have never used any special equipment of any kind for cycling. Sometimes, I may have problems with my foot staying on the pedal, but a little pressure with my stump seems to hold it there fairly good. Also, sometimes in the summer, my socket gets quite moist from the perspiration. Once it fell off in Stanley Park! I’m not kidding.
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