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Riding A Bicycle With A Broken Wrist

Updated on March 14, 2015

My Cargo Bike

Here is my cargo bike with modified hand rest.
Here is my cargo bike with modified hand rest. | Source

Simple Materials I Had On Hand

Vet wrap, paper tape, a disposable diaper and a pair of scissors will do the trick.
Vet wrap, paper tape, a disposable diaper and a pair of scissors will do the trick.

My Bike Is My Transportation

About a year ago I decided to sell my 20 year old car and bike and walk as my main means of transportation. The small town where I live has a Dollar General now. We have a pharmacy, a feed store and a few other small stores and businesses. I had my bike outfitted with lots of baskets for in town errands, and I catch a ride into the next town to go to the grocery store a couple of times a month. All-in-all it has worked out very well until I broke my wrist.

I have still been able to run my in-town errands with the help of my garden cart, but I have really missed riding my bike. After I got out of my cast, I tried riding but it was painful to my wrist. I couldn't hold the handlebar and resting my hand on the handlebar was painful. I came up with an idea to pad the handlebar, and it has really helped.

I used items I had on hand. I keep vet wrap and disposable diapers to make hoof boots for my mule (more about that in another article) and I had some paper medical tape on hand as well.


Secure The End

Secure the diaper to the hand grip with paper tape.
Secure the diaper to the hand grip with paper tape.

I didn't want to gunk up my hand grips!

When I had baskets put on my bike, I also got spiffy new hand grips. I didn't want to get sticky tape residue on them, so I decided to use an easy-off paper medical tape (as opposed to duct tape or some such) to secure a disposable diaper to the hand grip. This is not the strongest bond possible, but I am a fairly tame cyclist. If I tended to jump curbs or pop wheelies, I might choose a stronger base for my hand rest.

Wrap The Hand Grip

Wrap the diaper around the hand grip fairly tightly.
Wrap the diaper around the hand grip fairly tightly.

I actually padded the right hand grip because I broke my right wrist, but I took these pictures after the fact. I started by simply taping one end of a disposable diaper to the hand grip with one piece of tape.

By the way, I happen to have bunches of disposable diapers on hand. I did notice that they are available in packs of just a few for a couple of dollars at the Dollar General, though.

I wrapped the diaper around the hand grip pretty tightly. I thought this would help it hold the tape in place and prevent it from slipping.

Secure The Outer End

Tape the diaper securely on the outside.
Tape the diaper securely on the outside.

Secure The End Of The Vet Wrap

Set the vet wrap at an angle on the handlebar to prepare for wrapping the diaper.
Set the vet wrap at an angle on the handlebar to prepare for wrapping the diaper.

I just put one piece of tape on the outer edge to hold it in place. I also put a piece of tape over the end of the hand grip to hold the edges of the diaper together.

Once that was done, I got a roll of vet wrap and taped the corner down to the metal part of the handlebar. This positioning allowed me to wrap at an angle.

Wrap At An Angle

Wrap toward the end of the hand grip then wrap around the end and back toward the handlebar.
Wrap toward the end of the hand grip then wrap around the end and back toward the handlebar.

Vet Wrap is handy stuff!

Vetrap White, 4 inch
Vetrap White, 4 inch

I keep the 4 inch wide wrap on hand for various things. It's a couple of dollars a roll at my local feed store.

 

Wrap Back

You'll want two layers of vet wrap over the diaper. Wrap onto the handlebar and press the vet wrap into place.
You'll want two layers of vet wrap over the diaper. Wrap onto the handlebar and press the vet wrap into place.

I wrapped at an angle to the end of the hand grip then wrapped around the hand-grip and back again so that the whole diaper was completely covered. Once I got back to the metal part of the handlebar, I wrapped over the paper tape entirely. The vet wrap clings very securely to itself, so it holds everything in place. This hand rest is very secure and does not slip at all.

The Final Result

Here is the finished product on the right handlebar of my cargo bike.
Here is the finished product on the right handlebar of my cargo bike.

My First Trip To The Store

Here's my cargo bike ready to leave Dollar General.
Here's my cargo bike ready to leave Dollar General.

Remember It's A Hand Rest

This is not a hand grip! It's a hand rest! No popping wheelies or jumping curbs!
This is not a hand grip! It's a hand rest! No popping wheelies or jumping curbs!

Here's my swollen hand resting on the hand rest. It is quite comfortable, and I am able to guide my bike somewhat with my right hand. I think it's good therapy for my hand and wrist as well. The more I use it now that the bone is growing back together, the better and more flexible it becomes.

My Mountain Bike Was A Little Different

My sport bike with hand rest in place.
My sport bike with hand rest in place.

A few months ago, I found this lightweight bicycle lying by the side of the road. The chain and chain guard were badly damaged, and it seemed to be abandoned. I left it where it was for a week, but no one ever came to get it. When it started raining I brought it inside and kept it. I've had the chain adjusted and chain guard replaced, and it's nice to have for just zipping around town!

Mountain Bike Variation

Begin by taping the diaper down with paper tape.
Begin by taping the diaper down with paper tape.

It was hard to get a secure hold.

Securing the diaper to the hand grip was pretty much the same as with my cargo bike, except I was not able to secure the edge of the diaper over the end of the hand grip because of the bar ends. For this reason, the rest is not as secure and slips a bit.

Wrap From End To End Three Times

I found that I needed to wrap from the inner edge of the diaper to the bar end, back to the inner edge and back to the bar end for stability.
I found that I needed to wrap from the inner edge of the diaper to the bar end, back to the inner edge and back to the bar end for stability.

It took extra vet wrap to secure the hand rest on these handlebars.

The diaper just barely fits into the hand grip area on this bike, and what with cables and brake levers and whatnot, it was hard to overlap the vet wrap onto the handle bars. I ended up having to wrap from one end to the other three times instead of two in order to get the diaper fairly securely in place.

Top View

My sport bike handlebars with hand rest in place.
My sport bike handlebars with hand rest in place.

This version is not quite as secure.

It was hard to get enough angle with the limited space, and there was not room for much overlap of the vet wrap at the edges of the diaper, so this hand rest does slip a bit. Since I just cruise around at a leisurely pace on flat streets with very little traffic, it's fine for me. I wouldn't recommend this for a teenager or any other rider who is at all more adventurous than I!

I did find that with this bike, it is also comfortable to hook my thumb on the bar end, and that gives me a little more control. It's not really possible to "steer" with this adaptation. It just provides a place to rest my hand. I also feel more balanced riding with two hands than one, even if I am not doing much with my right hand at this point.

I am not able to brake with my right hand, but I can use the front brakes gently with my left hand. I am careful not to apply my brakes suddenly. I certainly wouldn't want to go flying over the handlebars and break my wrist!


Copyright:SuzanneBennett:March 14, 2015

Comments

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  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    3 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! She probably does not live in a red state. In TX, Rick Perry refused to accept federal tax dollars to expand Medicaid, so people who live below the poverty level just fall between the cracks and receive no health care. Since I pay a greater percentage of my below poverty level self employment income in self employment taxes than that paid by a billionaire or corporation, I feel this is grossly unfair. I pay for health insurance, but it is denied me.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    3 years ago from USA

    It is so sad that you have faced this. My aunt is extremely poor and gets excellent medical care for free. You are creative!

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    3 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Peggy. No, that's not how it works in Texas. I could very well lose my home over this. I am paying what I can, but my income is severely reduced due to my injury and it was already below the poverty level before. The help I have received from friends, family members, fellow writers and the rest of my wonderful online community has enabled me to keep my utilities on and pay for a great deal of my medical expenses, but unfortunately it's not over yet!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    3 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Very ingenious how you adapted your bikes to your situation and rather colorful as well. Looking forward to how you use those diapers and vet tape for your mules. Very sorry to hear that you have a broken wrist. Hopefully it is quickly mending and you will soon be well.

    Just pay your orthopedic doctor what you can each month even if it is $5 or $10 and let them know that is all that is financially possible on your part. Sometimes they are willing to write it off after a time.

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