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Biophysical perspective on submaximal handcycle propulsion in able-bodied men

Biomechanics and physiology of different gear, mode and steering settings
PhD ceremony:dr. C. Kraaijenbrink
When:October 27, 2022
Supervisors:prof. L.H.V. (Lucas) van der Woude, prof. dr. H. Wagner
Co-supervisors:dr. R.J.K. (Riemer) Vegter, dr. C. Bohn
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Biophysical perspective on submaximal handcycle propulsion in
able-bodied men

Handcycling is a form of upper body wheeled mobility and important for an active healthy lifestyle, rehabilitation, outdoor mobility and in sports. In this thesis, we aimed to find the most efficient set-up of an add-on handcycle for daily mobility for persons who depend on their upper body for propulsion. The gears, crank mode and the ability to steer were investigated during handcycling. This was done in the context of early motor learning as seen in early rehabilitation. Based on this work, handcycle users are recommended to try to keep a cadence of 50 rpm while cycling. In order to keep this pace, handcycles should be equipped with multiple gears. Secondly, the cranks should be mounted parallel, in contrast to a regular bicycle, which has the cranks 180 degrees out of phase. With parallel cranks, both hands move at the same time and no steering movements can take place. On top of that, the handcycle strategy does not change after practice in this cycling mode. It is therefore discouraged using fitness ergometers with another setting than their own bikes when training or testing daily handcycle users, as these do not represent real-life handcycling.