Handcycle – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Bicycle Types Glossary

What is a Handcycle?

A handcycle is a type of human-powered vehicle that is propelled by the user’s arms rather than their legs. It typically consists of a seat, a frame, two rear wheels, and a front wheel that is used for steering. The user sits in a recumbent position with their legs outstretched in front of them, using their arms to turn the pedals and propel the cycle forward.

Handcycles are commonly used by individuals who have lower body disabilities or impairments that prevent them from riding a traditional bicycle. They provide a great alternative for those who still want to enjoy the benefits of cycling and outdoor exercise.

How does a Handcycle differ from a traditional bicycle?

The main difference between a handcycle and a traditional bicycle is the method of propulsion. While a traditional bicycle is powered by the rider’s legs, a handcycle is powered by the rider’s arms. This allows individuals with lower body disabilities to still enjoy the benefits of cycling and outdoor exercise.

Handcycles also typically have a lower center of gravity and a more reclined seating position than traditional bicycles, which can provide added stability and comfort for the rider. Additionally, handcycles often have a different gearing system and braking mechanism to accommodate the different method of propulsion.

What are the benefits of using a Handcycle?

There are numerous benefits to using a handcycle, including:

1. Improved cardiovascular fitness: Handcycling provides a great cardiovascular workout, helping to improve heart health and overall fitness levels.

2. Upper body strength: Using a handcycle can help to build and strengthen the muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back.

3. Increased independence: Handcycles allow individuals with lower body disabilities to enjoy the freedom and independence of cycling on their own.

4. Outdoor enjoyment: Handcycling allows individuals to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and scenery while getting a great workout.

5. Social opportunities: Handcycling can be a great way to connect with others who share similar interests and abilities, whether through group rides or organized events.

Who can benefit from using a Handcycle?

Handcycles can benefit a wide range of individuals, including those with lower body disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, amputations, or neurological conditions. They can also be used by individuals who have difficulty with balance or coordination, as well as older adults who may find traditional bicycles uncomfortable or difficult to ride.

Handcycles are also popular among athletes with disabilities who compete in handcycle races and events. These individuals can benefit from the improved fitness and performance that handcycles provide.

How to choose the right Handcycle for your needs?

When choosing a handcycle, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you select the right model for your needs. Some key considerations include:

1. Type of terrain: Consider where you will be riding your handcycle most often, whether on flat roads, hilly terrain, or off-road trails. This will help determine the type of handcycle that is best suited for your needs.

2. Size and fit: Make sure to choose a handcycle that is the right size for your body and provides a comfortable fit. This will help prevent discomfort and ensure optimal performance.

3. Features and accessories: Consider any additional features or accessories that may be important to you, such as a suspension system, gearing options, or storage compartments.

4. Budget: Handcycles can vary widely in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when choosing a model. There are options available at different price points to suit a range of budgets.

What are some popular Handcycle brands and models?

There are several popular handcycle brands and models on the market, each offering unique features and benefits. Some popular brands include:

1. Top End: Top End offers a range of handcycles for recreational and competitive use, including the Top End Force RX Handcycle and the Top End Eliminator OSR Racing Handcycle.

2. Invacare: Invacare offers a variety of handcycles designed for individuals with disabilities, such as the Invacare Top End Excelerator Handcycle and the Invacare Top End XLT PRO Handcycle.

3. Quickie: Quickie offers the Quickie Shark RS Handcycle, a lightweight and versatile handcycle designed for both recreational and competitive use.

4. Freedom Ryder: Freedom Ryder offers the Freedom Ryder FRH-1 Handcycle, a popular choice for individuals looking for a comfortable and durable handcycle option.

These are just a few examples of the many handcycle brands and models available on the market. It’s important to research and test out different options to find the best handcycle for your specific needs and preferences.