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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this on another thread yesterday after I joined but this morning I saw this thread and thought I would put it here as well.

Up until ten years ago I loved cycling along with many other outdoor sports. Then I had a massive car accident that left my dominant arm paralyzed. I now want to go back to cycling.

I need help figuring out a road bike. I am 5'-4" and bike shops are not much help.... I have figured how to set up the brakes to run off just one hand, shifting I'll figure out after I start riding. My problem is finding a bike that is light but has really good balance. My balance is off (because of my arm) and the last thing I want to do is to fight a bike too.

I did not mention this on the other thread but the bike can not weigh a ton because I live in a three story walk up.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Are the women specific bikes actually what they are advertised as?

Thank you
 

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minnie, will you be able to rest your paralyzed arm on the handlebar? I'm trying to envision how you will contact the bike in that regard.

The Ruby would be a pretty stable bike for you. I would suggest using Shimano DuraAce Di2 electronic shifting. It is expensive, but can be configured so you have access to both shifters with your good hand. They make auxiliary shifters and one can be mounted so you can use it with your thumb while your fingers shift the other der.

I would talk to a Specialized directly and tell them your need. They might be willing to configure the bike to best work for you. Or go through your dealer. I know my LBS would try their best to build a bike that would work, hopefully you have one near you that will do the same. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My paralyzed arm will be in a brace that will stabilize my shoulder and also a "modified" sling. The sling goes basically around my stomach thus holding my arm against me and freeing up my good shoulder. The paralysis encompasses my entire shoulder including the shoulder blade and pectorial region all the way down to my fingers. I have some bicep and some minor muscle movement but very little strength in them. So I will be riding completely with one arm.

Balance will always be an issue for me and I have learned to understand that. Now I just figure out how to work around it. What I hope to accomplish by getting back on a bike again is to regain a part of me I lost the day of the accident. I live every day I have now to the fullest but part of misses what I used to have.... I would probably shock people if they knew all the things I have figured out how to do one handed.
 

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What arm is paralyzed?, if left, you can still run a full set of gears in the back. or maybe you could use TT shifters or thumbies in combination to one sti shifter to get a full set of gears....

Also there is a device from mountain biking I have seen once, for downhillers, it provides tension on the bars from a stem mounted device that provides resistance to keep the bars from turning when you dont want them to. maybe this could help. Maybe someone will know where to find this.
 

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Have you consulted an occupational/recreational therapist about riding a bike? Perhaps they could offer some suggestions. Are the roads you ride mostly flat? Would you even need a front der. to shift between chainrings? I really believe the Shimano electric shifting would work well for you. It requires very little effort to change gears and would result in little steering input when you did. It's basically push a button and the gears shift. No twisting of a lever. Perhaps you might start with a basic non-geared bike with a coaster brake until you are comfortable with the balance issue.

Good luck to you Minnie, I hope you are able to configure a bike for your specific needs.
 

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One Handed Shifting

minnie said:
...I have figured how to set up the brakes to run off just one hand, shifting I'll figure out after I start riding...
Not sure which arm you have use of but with regards to shifting you might look at this link.

http://www.campyonly.com/howto/lefthandshifting.html

Someone had recommended a custom frame builder and you may very well find this will be the best approach to getting what you want/need. So many of the off the shelf bikes, even if women specific designs, will not come set up for your needs. If you can find someone good they will help you with getting the proper frame dimensions as well as specific components. For instance when riding one handed you will want fairly narrow bars so you are holding the bar nearer the stem.

A good frame builder can help with those little extras that will make a difference. For instance long ago they had chain hangers which would make changing a rear flat a bit more realistic when you go to remount the wheel.

There will not be that much diffence in weight of the frames be they carbon, aluminim, steel... A good deal of the weight comes from the wheels and other stuff you hang on the frame. Find or have built a frame that fits you really well.
 
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