The mechanics of adapting a bike to suit ‘one handed’ riding are fairly straightforward.
In essence it is simply a matter of re-siting the existing controls. But as all bikes are to some extent different (as are all people) there are many ways of achieving the desired result.
In some cases, where the injury is to the right arm but enough mobility is retained to still safely operate the front brake lever, it is a simple matter of fitting a left-hand twist grip for the throttle.
If it is only the wrist, which lacks mobility as with tendonitis, a simple solution is to use the ‘thumb throttle’ assembly off a Quad.
In the case of more severe disability such as amputation or Brachial Plexus injuries the adaptions become more radical.
Right Arm Disabilities
In cases where all mobility is lost in the right arm it is then necessary to transfer the throttle and the front brake over to the left bar.
The brake can be mounted ‘in tandem’ with the clutch lever (this always looks and sounds more difficult to use than it actually is). There are two types of twin lever unit available for this adaption (see the kit page for details).
It is also likely that some of the standard handlebar mounted switchgear may need adapting to suit left-hand use.
Left Arm Disabilities
When it is the left arm effected by disability it is a similar situation. The clutch is transferred to the right side of the bars.
The clutch lever can be mounted ‘in tandem’ with the front brake lever (this always looks and sounds more difficult to use than it actually is). There are two types of twin lever unit available for this adaption (see the kit page for details).
Another option is to have the front brake operated by a right-hand ‘thumb operated’ lever and use the original front brake lever to operate the clutch.
Though in certain cases people have opted for riding bikes such as the Honda 400cc or 750cc automatics, which have a semi automatic clutch so the adaption is much simplified.
It is also likely that some of the standard handlebar mounted switchgear may need adapting to suit right-hand use.
Whether it is the right or left arm that has lost mobility there is a certain amount of modification required to the electrical switchgear, but this is fairly straightforward.
In all cases of ‘one handed’ riding it makes sense to fit a very high quality steering damper (the cheap ones are less than useless).
A question I am often asked by riders with these types of disability how they could fix their disabled hand to the handlebar. This is purely a matter of cosmetics in most cases though in some (where the upper muscles of the arm still work) it can make steering slightly easier.
The first thing to remember is never fix yourself to a solo bike, if you take a spill it could turn a minor accident into a major tragedy.
If you do wish to have your hand on the bar a piece of light Velcro on a glove with a matching piece on the grip should do the trick while still allowing you to separate from it in an emergency.
Part of the creed of the NABD is that if it is not easy to ride, the adaption is not finished.
Though it may seem complicated or awkward to ride one handed, if the adaption is done correctly it is very easy. In fact several of our members who are riding one handed on the road are also regularly riding off road.
The cost of this style of adaption can vary from under £250-00 to over £750-00 depending on the type of bike and the needs of the rider.
Compared to other adaptions. this type is relatively cheap but as with all adaptions, the NABD can make a grant to help with the cost if the rider cannot afford it himself or herself