Hand-Driven Unicycles?


…and eventually, seated mountain hand-driven unicycling! There is actually a purpose for this picture. It’s to show you the angles of the rider. Any suggestions?

Sorry to post so much but I’ve just made some pretty big progress.


Re: Hand-Driven Unicycles?

Funny you should mention that.

Ian, the guy who owns the company that is building Andrews frame (and also
built my pull apart mini-giraffe) mainly builds lightweight wheelchairs and
hand cycles for people without effective use of their legs. He is in a chair

Wayne van Wijk

“U-Turn” <U-Turn.fzcib@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
> Andrew, if you’re seated and doing distance then your project is far
> different from the others mentioned above. Go for it! You may be able
> to find a handicapped cyclist to help you out.
> –
> U-Turn - Vertically challenged
> ~~~~~~~x (ouch)
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> U-Turn’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/691
> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/22311

Re: Hand-Driven Unicycles?

“andrew_carter” <andrew_carter.g0bxa@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in
message news:andrew_carter.g0bxa@timelimit.unicyclist.com
> ±---------------------------------------------------------------+
> | Attachment filename: design - stage 2.jpg |
> |Download attachment: http://www.unicyclist.com/attachment/94188 |
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Interesting idea, probably horrendously difficult to ride, but let’s face
it, this has never stopped an adventurous unicyclist before.

I have one comment though: I can see it is aimed at speed, but the high
gearing in conjunction with arms being much weaker than legs is going to
mean this will take a fair bit of muscle to pedal (is pedal still an
appropriate word?) …I’ll stay with the term hand crank.
At the slightest incline, I reckon you are gonna need to search the junk
shops for a second hand orang-utan.

Naomi :wink:


Thanks for the advice, I didn’t think of that. Maybe I’ll have to start of with an easier gear ratio and then when I build up the muscles needed to ride it, I’ll change the gears. This’ll be like going to the gym but fun!


Yeh, Ian showed me his hand-cycle. It looks really nice. I’ll have to try to get him to have a go of this seated hand-driven unicycle:) .


Re: Hand-Driven Unicycles?

On Sat, 21 Dec 2002 02:37:33 -0600, andrew_carter
<andrew_carter.g06da@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>Thanks for the support. I actually got the idea from hand-driven
>three-wheelers (or handcycles). Is this what you were takling about
>with the hand-cranked wheelchairs?
Exactly. Sorry I hadn’t seen your attachments yesterday. (As I use an
offline news reader I have to reconnect, cut and paste addresses etc.
Sometimes I’m too lazy. It’s a bit of a hassle but still I like it.)

My observation (about opportunity for handicapped) was a bit silly
because you made that link already by posting that pic of the 1869

Klaas Bil

"The lowly caterpillar has over 4000 muscles in its body, while the human only has 639 or so. "

A back pad. Looks like the rider is about to take a nasty fall back on those pointy rocks (and weeds). Notice almost his entire body mass is to the right of the wheel axle. In other words, this is not what it will look like when someone rides that design. Tilt it over so the rider’s mass is centerd over the axle for a better picture.

Two suggestions for the design:

  1. Start with 1:1 gear ratio. You’ll get plenty of arm exercise, I promise. Later you can decide if you want to up the ratio.

  2. Put pegs on the axle to start. It will be much easier to learn to ride it standing on the pegs, with your weight focused down on the axle. When you get used to that, you can work your way into the seat and pegs position, which will be a lot harder to deal with.

How do I know this? Because for many years I’ve been dabbling with foot pegs on my Schwinn Giraffe. Notable riders who do it better than me are Sem Abrahams and Jose Ramos. After many hours of practice over many years, I can now keep from hitting the walls, but cannot necessarily go exactly where I want when hand pedaling.

So far I mostly do it with one hand, while the other hand holds the frame. Pedaling with both hands makes you more apt to hit yourself in the head or face with the seat, but Arne (and Jose Roman in the early 90s) have shown us it definitely works. I can also get into a spin this way, and coast. Coasting is a bit like riding a B.C. wheel with a big handle.

For everyone doing research looking for previous designs. Doesn’t anyone else on this forum read On One Wheel? The back issues contain the history of our sport since the early 70s, and a wealth of informaton of this nature. Saying you coudn’t find anything while not having looked there is like not using a search engine in today’s Internet. Randy Barnes did an article about converting a Schwinn Giraffe into a seated hand pedal unicycle. But I don’t remember when this article came out. Sometime in the late 80s I think.

So his wasn’t built from the ground up, but it did have a a seat. I don’t remember where the feet went on his.

Putting the seat in the rear and the feet in front, your hand-crank cycle will handle like the recumbent I have pictured in my Garage Page:

This cycle was very hard to steer, due to the body weight sticking out to the front and rear. Combine this with both hands being confined to the pedals, and you’ll have a steering challenge indeed! I’m saying it will be hard, but I’m not daft enough to say it’s impossible. Nothing of this nature is.

Another idea is to put some sort of bumper post sticking out in front of the top sprocket to protect both the sprocket and your hands upon face plant; perhaps too something behind to protect your face!