This amputee inspires and innovates on his bike

Saturday afternoon I was enjoying my first ride back on the bike since my surgery.  It was raining just a bit.  However, I was so antsy to get back on the road, I just had to get out for an hour or so.  It turned out to be a good and inspiring ride.

I headed down to Cleveland Park just to do some laps.  My finger felt great at first, but by the time I finished it was pretty sore.  The pain seemed to come more from the cold.  My altered gloves I made to help protect the pinkie seemed to work great, so there was no real stress on the finger.

Of course, I couldn’t just ride around.  The first 30 minutes were actually quite hard.  My legs felt awful.  Finally, I just decided to blow out the crud!  So on two laps I launched up the Woodland Circle climb.  I got two 10 second peaks on those laps over 1000 watts.  Shortly after my legs started feeling more supple and I made it home feeling great.

As I was finishing up, I came behind two riders.  One of them was Bryant Young.  Bryant leaves on the other side of my block.  He is a cyclist.  The only thing different is that Bryant wears a prosthesis.

That fact is never anything to hold him back. I could go into the history of what has brought Bryant to this day, but I’ll let you do that at his Web site.  What I was interested in last night was Bryant’s new crank arm.

Crank adapter for prosthesis

Crank adapter for prosthesis

The above photo shows the crank arm that he has been using.  There are certain rules about how long a crank arm can be when you are competing in paralympics, etc.  On the other hand, you don’t want the crank arm to be too long or it throws the leg around hurting balance.  No, the rider gets no assist from the prosthesis.  Go ahead, try pedaling your bike around Cleveland Park with one leg — or climbing Alamont Road! Bryant’s done it.

New crank arm by Ed Johnson

New crank arm by Ed Johnson

Enter Ed Johnson.  Ed is a machinist extraordinaire. Basically, if you can think it, he can make it.  Ed is also a cyclist.  Bryant and Ed met through Sunshine Cycle Shop. In discussions about the limitations of his old crank system, it was decided to have Ed machine Bryant a new crank arm specifically measured to stay within the guidelines and yet give Bryant the best positioning.  As you can see in the above picture, he did a beautiful job!

I followed Bryant for about half a lap before he headed home.  By the way, he was out there riding after having competed that morning in the Greenville Spring Training Series at Fork Shoals.  You should have seen the smile on his face out there in the rain!  You can tell he loves the sport!

Bryant is out there competing with all the other cyclists in the Greenville area. His goal is to move from training with these guys to participating in some disabled sports races.  Knowing Bryant, he’ll be there… along with his new crank arm.

You can read more about Bryant’s adventures at his Web site: bryantyoung.com. We’ll keep an eye on him here at Low Cadence as well. Thanks for the ride, Bryant!