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Types of Adaptive Cycles

Adaptive Cycles

Adaptive cycling encompasses a variety of bicycles and tricycles designed to accommodate individuals with diverse physical abilities. Here are some of the most common types:


Handcycles are propelled using hand cranks rather than pedals. They typically feature a reclined seating position and are operated by pushing and pulling on the hand cranks. Handcycles are popular among individuals with lower body disabilities who still have upper body strength and mobility.

Red Handcycle

Recumbent Trikes:

Recumbent trikes have a reclined seating position with a backrest and are powered by pedaling with the feet. They offer stability and comfort and are suitable for individuals with balance issues or limited mobility. Recumbent trikes come in various configurations, including delta (single rear wheel) and tadpole (two front wheels).

Orange Recumbent Trike

Tandem Bikes:

Tandem bikes are bicycles designed for two riders, where one person typically pedals from the front while the other sits in the rear. Tandem bikes can be adapted for individuals with disabilities by adding features like adjustable seating, additional support, or modified controls.

Black Tandem Bike with blue writing

Recumbent Bikes:

Recumbent bikes feature a reclined seating position and are pedaled with the feet. They offer a more ergonomic riding position compared to traditional upright bicycles and can be beneficial for individuals with back problems or other physical limitations.

Blue Recumbent Bikes

Adaptive Tricycles:

Adaptive tricycles, also known as adult tricycles or special needs tricycles, are three-wheeled bicycles with a stable base and often feature a low step-through frame for easy access. They are suitable for individuals who have difficulty balancing on a traditional bicycle or tricycle.

Silver Adaptive Tricycle

Hand-pedaled Recumbent Trikes:

These trikes are similar to recumbent trikes but feature hand pedals instead of foot pedals. They are suitable for individuals who have limited or no use of their legs but still have sufficient arm strength and mobility to operate the hand pedals.

Black Hand-pedaled Recumbent Trike with red writing on the sides

Each type of adaptive cycle offers unique benefits and features tailored to different levels of ability and preference. When selecting an adaptive cycle, it's essential to consider factors such as comfort, stability, accessibility, and the individual's specific needs and capabilities. Additionally, many adaptive cycling programs and organizations offer opportunities for individuals to try out different types of adaptive cycles and find the one that best suits them.

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