Mountainbike Helper for Hemiplegia Patients

Intro: Mountainbike Helper for Hemiplegia Patients

Hemiplegia patients are people who suffer from a right- or left-sided (partial) paralysis, causing them to have fewer strength and grip. For these people, it is really hard to mountain bike, as they have a hard time gripping onto the steering wheel, using the brakes and peddling.

This instructable focusses on providing a solution for hemiplegia patients with a right-sided paralysis, allowing them to mountain bike again!

The helper contains three parts:

  • Placing the brakes on the left-side of the steering wheel
  • Creating a brace for support of the right arm
  • Attaching your right hand to the steering wheel

You can use only one of the three, or all of them at the same time, depending on your budget and/or accessibility.

Sidenote: A steering dampener can help you a lot aswell by providing more stability, making sure you fall over less easily. This part is not included within the tutorial, but you can always check out this one here: http://www.hopey.org/index.php

Step 1: Placing Your Brakes on the Left-side of the Steering Wheel

In this step, we placed all the important features of the bike on the left side of the steering bar. These features include the front and rear brakes, the button for the suspension and the gears.

In our case, the shifting gears are electrical, which means you can use them by pushing two buttons. This is a rather expensive solution. Alternatives are a rotational gear, or use of a clickgear, however this last one is solely made for right-handed people and therefore is not an option for people who can only use their left hand.

For the brakes, we used two different brake levers, both mounted above each other on the steering bar. The rear break is the longest one (a three finger lever) and is installed under the front break which we chose slightly shorter. (a two finger lever).

We used breaks of the brand Formula. We chose them, because these can be installed above one another. We noticed brakes of other brands are most of the time a lot bigger and harder to install together.

Link: http://www.rideformula.com/cat/mountain-bike/

Everything is installed together on the same side, as shown in the pictures. If you don't have a lot of experience working on bikes, it is recommend to visit your local bike shop, where they will surely be able to assist you!

Step 2: Creating a Brace for Support of the Right Arm

In our case, the right arm was the weakest. A special brace was made to support the wrist and make it easier to hold the steering bar. The base of this brace is a wrist protector from Decathlon. We made our own support part and combined it with a hook which clasps onto the steering bar.

We went trough the following steps in order to make our brace: (You can find each step in the photos)

  1. Firstly, we bought a brace from Decathlon, from which we removed the supporting part.
  2. Next, we made our own support plate by cutting two little plates out of aluminium and duct-taping them together. We used two plates with a thickness of 0.5mm. The dimensions of our part where 15cm high and 4cm wide, but smaller and/or larger plates can be made to fit the user.
  3. The following step is to mount the hook to the supporting part. Our hook is a normal coat hanger, which you can buy in almost every do-it-yourself store. You can find the one we used in the link below. We mounted it using two rivets.
  4. Finally, after combining the two parts, the support element was placed into the back of the wrist protector.

These are the links to all the different products we used:

You should be able to easily find a replacement for any of these in your local store.

Step 3: Attaching Your Right Hand to the Steering Wheel

The last step was to create something which allowed the hook to clasp onto the steering bar. For this, we made a part in Siemens NX and 3D-printed it. This part can easily be fixed on the steering bar by using two zip ties.

You can find STP-files to print the part yourself above. These files can be printed by any online 3DHub.

Alternatively, you can use a handlebar of a closet and mount this on your steering wheel. An example of this can be found here. You can also see an example of this in the photos attached to this step.

Step 4: Results

The combination of the brace, the part on the steering bar and the left-sided bike controls, made it easier for our client to mountain bike on his own. Hopefully our instructable can be of the same help to you!

Best of luck.

Sander, Gavin and Maxim

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