Cycling despite incomplete paraplegia - incomplete spinal cord injury

The incomplete paraplegia - incomplete spinal cord injury

 If the spinal cord is only partially severed in a paraplegia, it is called incomplete paraplegia or incomplete spinal cord injury. In the case of incomplete paraplegia, you may still be able to use your legs to move around, albeit often with the help of walking aids such as walking sticks or a rollator. 

Therapy after an incomplete paraplegia

 In gernaral the incomplete paraplegia is treated with a physiotherapy training program, often in a rehabilitation clinic and over several months. 

Cycling again with the Varibike recumbent bike, despite incomplete paraplegia

Because the Varibike Trike has special driving properties and drive options, the Varibike Trike is also very attractive for people with incomplete paraplegia. People with incomplete paraplegia particularly appreciate the 7 different drive options. No recumbent bike in the world offers as much variety as the Varibike Trike. The uncompromising sporty design of the Varibike trike is also pleasing.

Photo: Varibike recumbent Trike for incomplete paraplegia

Thanks to the Varibike Trike, people with an incomplete paraplegia can cycle again. You can go on excursions into nature or take tours with other cyclists. The Varibike Trike is love of life and joy in movement. The additional arm drive of the Varibike trike compensates for the lack of strength in the legs in the event of an incomplete paraplegia. You are fast again and you can conquer slopes again. The 7 different drive styles offer you a refreshing variety. It's a lot of fun and thanks to the possibility to change the propulsion style, individual muscle groups can be recovered already while driving. The muscles do not over-acidify and you have much more stamina with the Varibike Trike than with ordinary handcycles. In addition, the different drive styles in the Varibike Trike promote full-body coordination and help restore nerve connections. It has been discovered that the reflexes in the legs are positively influenced by additional arm training. Varibiking is movement in nature and an excellent rehabilitation measure, which also has a positive effect on the ability to use the legs again. The most successful and most joyful rehabilitation measures are the one that are fun.

Interview with Jürgen from Oberursel / Germany

 Jürgen you drive a Varibike Trike. How did this come about?  Since my bicycle accident in June 2019 I have an incomplete paraplegia. I have been paraplegic at lesion level TH10 with residual functionality in my legs. I was looking for a bike for exercise / transportation that could use both arm and leg strength. Why didn't you take a recumbent bike with an electric motor?  For me, the focus is on the training effect, i.e. the "journey is the goal". An electric motor would increase the radius of action, but would also be associated with an increase in weight. Why Varibike recumbent trike, of all things, there are still many other sports with which you can keep yourself fit? For example, you could also go to the gym.  According to market research, the range of hand and leg drive bikes was very small How long have you been riding the Varibike Trike?  05/2020 What do you use your Varibike for?  Trips to therapy. Family trips. Does it also help you improve leg movement?  Due to my disability, my leg strength is severely limited. The Varibike allows easy pedaling, which promotes the improvement of leg function. Does varibiking influence your full body coordination?  Overall, the Varibike allows a flexible choice of drive (arms only / legs only / combination of arms and legs). This enables full body training, which also promotes coordination. And on hills, can you get up there easily, even without an electric motor? I installed an Alfine 11-speed gearshift on my Varibike. The range of the translation is sufficient for trips in the Taunus foreland (average mountain area in Germany). For longer climbs, an additional electric motor should be considered due to the weight of the Varibike. What is the special fun factor about Varibike triking for you?  All in all, it enables me to have the feeling of "cycling" again despite a disability. Do you take the Varibike to get from A to B, or do you also have a training goal?  For me, the Varibike is a training device that complements other therapy / training measures. With the Varibike you can switch between different riding styles as you like. Does this yield to something?  The flexibility of the riding style is an elementary strength of the Varibike; especially if there is a disability. Do you often switch between driving styles?  I usually use the combination of arms and legs. When going downhill, I easily step with my legs. Have you become muscularly stronger by riding a Varibike?  The - limited - residual functionality in the legs was definitely promoted. A substantial build-up of strength is not possible due to my handicap. Was it difficult to learn the varibiking?  At first I had some problems with the steering as my core strength is limited. I also made the conversion to an ICE full carbon shell, which fixes the body better. Varibikers with a incomplete paraplegia have special requirements for a recumbent bike. You gave us very helpful suggestions, some of which we have already implemented on the Varibike Trike. What equipment do you recommend for Varibiker with incomplete paraplegia?  Conversion to ICE carbon seat shell for better fixation Conversion to hydraulic disc brake - 180mm Deactivation of the back pedal function on the crank, as this restricted maneuverability too much. Ortlieb QL 3.1 holder on the seat for using Ortlieb bags. Luggage rack solution to enable the transport of a bulky therapy device (Ekso Skellett). Do you feel safe when varibiking?  Yes. We had a lot of snow and ice this year. Do you also drive in winter?  Yes, I fitted Schwalbe Marathon spike tires for winter use. The traction with the standard Schwalbe Big Apple is limited on "greasy" surfaces. However, the suspension comfort should be emphasized (air pressure 2 bar) Varibiking is a new sport. How do people react when you meet them with the Varibike?  They notice the Varibike, because it is not yet that common. Occasional inquiries. Finally, do you have a tip for Varibike Trike beginners?  Test the Varibike extensively beforehand; especially if there is a disability. It must be ensured that you can handle the steering and the transfer to the Varibike. 

Photo: Jürgen’s Varibike recumbent Trike with conversion to the needs of incomplete paraplegia

Photo: Varibike recumbent bike with conversion to the needs of incomplete paraplegia

Erich from Kapfenberg / Austria

The Varibike is unfortunately completely unknown not only in Germany but also in my homeland (Styria Austria). I was looking for a bike with which I could primarily use my arms. Since I suffered an incomplete cross-section in an accident four years ago, the varibike is, for me personally, a great achievement. This great bike enables me to continue practicing my beloved sport! Greetings from green Styria in Austria!

Photo: Erich with his Varibike recumbent trike equiped for incomplete paraplegia