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Thread: Attaching chair to handbike!

  1. #1
    Senior Member brian's Avatar
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    Attaching chair to handbike!

    I had this idea to attach my chair to my bike this way for YEARS, but was unable to find the right kind of clamps. I needed right-angle clamps - which are pretty common - but I needed them for the 1" OD (outside diameter) tubes of the bike axle and the chair frame. Every one of the right-angle clamps I found were for tubing 1-3/8" OD or larger. I called, visited, and looked online at Grainger, McMaster-Carr, scaffolding suppliers, rigging companies, plumbing suppliers… anywhere they used metal tubes or pipes. No one had right angle clamps that small - or even normal clamps that small that could be bolted together.

    I thought it was over. I thought I'd never be able to find right-angle clamps the right size. I almost gave up. But then I got a call from a guy at a scaffolding company I spoke to over a month ago. He said someone in the office was a musician and thought a drum store might carry something like what I was looking for.

    Well, after years of coming up empty I was doubtful, but I headed over to a specialty drum store about 2 miles from my house. I chatted with the manager for a bit and told him what I was looking for. He pulled a couple things they had and they weren't quite what I needed. But then after looking around his store a bit he said, "hey, what about this?"

    It was perfect. A DW Drums MG-1 clamp. It was exactly what I needed; the clamp that had been haunting my dreams for the past decade. He sold me a pair for $25 each and if I could, I would have been skipping out to my car like a little girl full of lollipops and bubblegum.

    So this is what I do now.
    *note: my generation of Freedom Ryder has rear wheels that use standard quick release axles. This means that I only need to take one set of wheels with me! If your bike doesn't do this, I'm sure you could strap the chair wheels to the chair frame somehow.










    The wing nuts are very big! I think a quad could use them. Even if the chair isn't screwed on tight, it'll stay. I've arrived at my destination and realized it was a little lose once. It'll just rattle around a bit more.







    If I ever want to ride without the chair I take it off and screw the clamps down tight.





    So here's what happens:
    I have an extra chair which I keep clamped to my handbike. All I need to do is xfer to the bike and I'm ready to go. When I arrive at my destination…
    1. Un-clamp the chair from the bike (it's actually easier to do this while still on the bike)
    2. Get off the bike onto the ground (or bench if there's one around)
    3. Take the wheels off the bike
    4. Put the bike wheels on the chair
    5. Get in the chair
    6. Lock up my bike
    7. GO!

    The whole process takes about 7-10 minutes, which is great. Now I can actually bike to places instead of making a loop back to my car or home. I can ride my bike to shows, concerts, parties, dinners, friends' houses. I can ride with my friends and get a beer at the bar after. I ride by handbike to work 3-4 days a week now. It's FANTASTIC! So much freedom! So much flexibility!

    You can find the DW Drums MG-1 clamps online for about $33 or at your local drum shop.







    I do clamp the chair so that the casters are off the ground. This is because casters are noisy on streets and I'd rather not wear them down.






    You should do this! It is awesome! Any questions?

  2. #2
    That's a pretty cool and very ingenious setup. I'm no where near setting that up for myself, but I'm curious: The wheels on the wheelchair only have two bearings, correct? So, wouldnt that make them not as reliable for holding up to the type of riding you would need for street-riding/handcycling?

  3. #3
    I am totally impressed!! I love adaptations like this - have long thought about a "gadjet wheelchair" with hidden equipment.
    Yours is a remarkable idea and hope you have more of them........

  4. #4
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
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    So you get where you are going and transfer to ground take wheels off bike, put on chair and transfer from ground to chair? I have never even worked on ground to chair transfer but pretty sure I would be hard pressed to pull that off. Glad you found the clamps. A video would be nice if you had the time, of you getting off bike and into chair once you get where you are going...

  5. #5
    Excellent!!!

    This has been part of my next plan also.
    • I want to carry the frame of the wheelchair and use the handcycle wheels and cushion, just as you have.
    • I want to use the Power Pod to enable the trip to be longer, faster and more enjoyable - especially given the extra weight of the chair.

    The goal would be to be able to go touring with friends, to a lake (for example), where we spend the day swimming and eating food, then cycle back.


    Good find with those clamps....I spent a long time looking for the right clamps for my Power Pod, so I know what you went through lol

  6. #6
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Well done on figuring that all out. I love it when things like that finally come together with the most unlikely stuff, especially non-medical stuff.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  7. #7
    Senior Member brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButterflyMom View Post
    The wheels on the wheelchair only have two bearings, correct? So, wouldnt that make them not as reliable for holding up to the type of riding you would need for street-riding/handcycling?
    I use the handcycle wheels on the chair, not the chair wheels on the handcycle. Either way, the handcycle wheels use the same hubs as the chair with 2 bearings each. I'm not sure what you're used to, but they work fine. I don't know that a hub with more bearings would be any better.



    Quote Originally Posted by djrolling View Post
    So you get where you are going and transfer to ground take wheels off bike, put on chair and transfer from ground to chair?
    Yes. I highly recommend learning to xfer from the floor - for many reasons. Search on Youtube for "floor to chair transfer" and you'll find a bunch of videos showing different ways to do it. I put the chair behind me, bump up and sit on the footrest, then push up to the seat.



    Quote Originally Posted by MarkB701 View Post
    I want to use the Power Pod to enable the trip to be longer, faster and more enjoyable - especially given the extra weight of the chair.
    Yes, I can absolutely feel the difference when the chair is on the back, but it's not terrible. I can still get close to my normal average speed. If anything I figure I'm getting more of a workout.

  8. #8
    Senior Member djrolling's Avatar
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    So where did you get the clamps? I could see needing some of those might buy a set to have on hand if you can point me in the right direction

  9. #9
    Why don't you want to attach the footrest to the back of the cycle and tow the chair on its own wheels. That's what I do behind my lawn mower.

  10. #10
    Thanks Brian, that's interesting to know. I try to read what you guys post about handcycles: One day I'd really like to get one. I'm not very mechanicaly inclined; I assumed and thought I read on somebody's post about handcycle wheels having more bearings. I thought that's what made them ride better and faster than our everyday wheelchairs. I also thought I read on somebody's post a comment about their wheelchair not being able to hold up to the beating of going down hills or racing because of the bearings. Very interesting!: Now I won't misstrust my wheelchair so much when I'm cruising around the neighborhood! Thanx

    I also didn't know you could switch out your wheels between your handcycle and wheelchair, that's pretty awesome!
    Last edited by ButterflyMom; 09-17-2012 at 07:37 PM. Reason: add a thought

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