Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

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matthew.a.smith
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Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by matthew.a.smith »

My daughter loves cycling but is becoming very anxious about braking as she has a disability that means she can't use her right hand (to change gear or apply the brake).

I've overcome the gearchange issue by using a grip shift fitted to left handlebar (this works okay), but at the moment she can only use rear brake with left hand. Does anyone have a solution for front and real wheel braking by the left hand?

I don't think a fixed gear would work for her as she really needs gears to help her get moving from stationary (as her right leg is not very strong).
matthew.a.smith
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by matthew.a.smith »

thank you slowster - much appreciated.
9494arnold
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by 9494arnold »

Haven't read all the linked posts.
An indexed gear lever (or indeed a ratchet one) can be used as a 'drag' brake ,sometimes seen on Tandems .
(I.e. You pull the lever and it stays where you put it unless you move it again yourself. )
Linked brakes on one lever COULD be construed as illegal ,unless there is another brake present ,as they aren't independent which the law requires . I did ride leader training with a guy who only had one arm, all if his brake levers and gear levers were in one side of his bars . Cabling looked like spaghetti but it all worked and he was in perfect control.
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Mick F
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by Mick F »

I didn't follow to olympics at all, or the para olympics, but wasn't there a one-handed lady cyclist who won a medal?
If so, how did she operate the brakes?
Mick F. Cornwall
Jdsk
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by Jdsk »

Mick F wrote: 26 Sep 2021, 11:07am I didn't follow to olympics at all, or the para olympics, but wasn't there a one-handed lady cyclist who won a medal?
If so, how did she operate the brakes?
Was that on road or track? The answer could well depend on that...

Thanks

Jonathan
tatanab
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by tatanab »

Mick F wrote: 26 Sep 2021, 11:07am I didn't follow to olympics at all, or the para olympics, but wasn't there a one-handed lady cyclist who won a medal?
If so, how did she operate the brakes?
Dame Sarah Storey with umpteen medals over a couple of sports. Looking at comments by her over the years, it appears that her setup has changed a bit. 2010 she talks about a cable splitter to operate both brakes from the right hand lever. 2013 there is a picture that suggests she has a lever arrangement on the left hand bottom of the drop bars to allow her to press with her stump. I was not able to discern the arrangement on her more recent time trial machine.

At the Olympics themselves I suppose there are rules that apply since the events are on closed roads so local laws need not apply.
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Mick F
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by Mick F »

Thanks Tatanab.

Any pictures, or should I Google?
Mick F. Cornwall
tatanab
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by tatanab »

Google is better because then you will uncover all sorts of pictures and interviews depending on how deep you want to go.
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Tigerbiten
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by Tigerbiten »

Being a left arm amputee I've looked into this.

The easiest is just to use a single brake and ignore the other. If you just use the back brake then you lack stopping power, it you just use the front brake then it dangerous in the wet due to the risk a front wheel skid.

The next option is to use a single lever to pull both brakes. It gives better stopping than a single brake but it's not road legal. Main downside is you cannot vary the stopping power between front and back as needed depending on road conditions.
You can improve this setup with a third brake worked off a friction lever. This makes it road legal plus you can use only back wheel braking in the wet.
This is very similar to how my bent trike is set up. Both front brakes are off one lever and on a trike it doesn't matter if a front wheel skids as I cannot fall off. The back brake is only used as a drag/parking brake and is worked off a friction lever.

After that it gets more tricky/expensive.
A single brake body with twin levers is possible.
Some type of fancy push lever on the weak side.
A back brake you can push on with your heel.
But you really need somewhere like a university to help built/test some of these options.

Luck ........ :D
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Mick F
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by Mick F »

From one of slowter's links.
Mick F wrote: 3 Apr 2020, 4:13pm Some years ago, I rode LE to JOG and back again, and whilst in Carlisle YHA on my way back to LE, there was a chap in there on his way to JOG.
We were putting our bikes in the bike shed, and he only had one arm.

I was tired, so didn't chat too long, but his bike had been modified in the braking department. Both brake levers were on the right .......... as he had no left arm. Straight handlebars, not drops.

I really do wish I'd taken more notice of how the system worked ........... but it DID work, obviously.
So ................. not legal then?
Or did he have two separate levers on the right?
Mick F. Cornwall
Jupestar
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by Jupestar »

Hope Duo Lever?
396D586E-863D-47D2-BEB0-F51A6A7801FC.png
I’ve seen a home made version of this with two regular levers staggered on with the ability to pull either or both (just a about). - but he was an experienced rider, who would happily throw caution to the wind.

I tried to find a photo online and came across this hope one.
mattsccm
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by mattsccm »

How about 3 brakes? Two linked to be used with one hand and a spare that fulfills the letter of the law.
I sm sure that the linked could be set up to apply front a touch before back or vice versa.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by [XAP]Bob »

I'd be very tempted to run a coaster brake on the rear and have the front brake run by a hand lever.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.
pwa
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Re: Disability issue - how to brake with just left hand

Post by pwa »

On a tandem with MTB style levers I have two brake levers accessible by my left hand, and I have used both at the same time. One is a little below the other. But I have average man sized hands and I'm not sure the average woman or girl would be able to reach both at the same time quite as easily as I can. Thorn Cycles, in their tandem info, put me onto this, so it might be worth checking what they recommend for tandems now. (Tandems often have three brakes rather than two).
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