Keeping fit when you are disabled is not always easy. Getting a decent amount of exercise can take extra effort, and adaptations or special premises may be required for you to really get the opportunity to be sporty. If you are keen to get hold of some specialised exercise equipment or get involved in a new kind of sport, you might want to consider looking at hand cycles, also known as hand trikes.
It is easy to lose confidence in your ability to take part in physical activity, but taking part in a new sport could give you a whole new lease of life. So, read on to find out more about hand cycles and what they can offer you.
However, if you don’t feel like going out, you can still exercise your hands with a sit down exercise bike.
What are hand cycles?
Hand cycles are a way for people to get around that is powered by the person’s arms rather than their legs. Rather similar to a bicycle, though powered by the hands, a hand cycle tends to have three wheels (making it, strictly speaking, a kind of tricycle).
Types of hand cycle
In most hand cycle designs, one wheel, at the front, is designed to steer while two wheels, at the back, are there to keep balance and coast. Alternative types of hand cycle have two front wheels and one at the back, while others allow for the leaning position of the user to steer the direction the trike goes in.
The front wheels of a hand cycle are powered by the hand cranks, allowing the user to rest their legs and keep them out of the way, if mobility is difficult.
The variety in designs of hand cycle means they can be made accessible to a wider range of people; if they were all the same, this would limit their popularity and their potential usage. Instead, by offering different styles, manufacturers can make these products available to more disabled people, and other sports people who want to gain some upper body strength.
The Hand Cycling Association of the UK is an organisation dedicated to promoting hand cycling and encouraging people to take part in events, even offering taster sessions so that disabled people can have a go before they start looking into purchasing their own hand cycle. Although it is called the Hand Cycling Association of the UK, it supports hand cycling activities all across Europe.
The organisation is fanatical about hand cycling, unsurprisingly! They support people from beginners to experts to take part and get enjoyment from the activity. For new hand cyclists, taster days can be booked so that you can have your first experience of hand cycling and perhaps test different models of bike, to work out which is more suitable. These opportunities give you the chance to have a social occasion, hand cycling with friends, or to go alone and really focus on improving your fitness.
For more experienced hand cyclists, the Hand Cycling Association offers more competitive and adrenaline-fuelled activities. It is leading the field by offering the chance to take part in downhill hand cycling, as well as longer distance events and off-road occasions.
Which hand cycle to choose
The Top End Force 3 hand cycle is a great hand cycle for experienced and newbie hand cyclists alike. With a whopping 27 speeds and performance wheels, the Force 3 hand cycle can certainly beat the competition when ridden well.
An alternative to look at is the Top End Force RX. Designed specifically for competitive hand cyclists, it offers enhancements that hand cyclists dream of to get the edge in races they take part in.
If you are looking to start taking part in a new sport, hand cycling is one to look out for. Taking place entirely while seated, and without needing mobile or powerful legs, the opportunity to use the hands to power and steer gives many people the chance to cycle like never before.