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Ways around weak grip??

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by septopuss, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. septopuss

    septopuss Chimp

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    I used to race and jump BMX/MTB, but when I was 16 I was diagnosed with monomelic amyotrophy. I lost almost all grip strength in my left hand over the next year. On a good day I can get 1-2lbs of grip strength out of it. I have since been limited to strictly road biking. I work in a bike shop and it's had me itching to get on a MTB and get out on real trails. As it is right now I can't even hop a curb. I was wondering if someone out there has ever heard of someone with a similar condition. There must be some way around it, right? I've seen rigs for guys with one arm. I was thinking I could try a little Velcro on a glove and handlebar. Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks.
     

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  2. greenchris

    greenchris Turbo Monkey

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    I don't have anything similar to you but on my right hand I cut a tendon in half and ended up losing a lot of my strength and grip. The last couple years I have used really, really thick grips as it seems to help a bit. Maybe a combo of thick grips and very grippy gloves?
     
  3. septopuss

    septopuss Chimp

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    Thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately I can't grip larger things any better than smaller things. I've had dozens of tests and measurements done and the doctors couldn't come up with any ways around the weakness.
     
  4. .Pit Steelers.

    .Pit Steelers. Nostradumbass

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    strengthen it?..Forearm curls well thats wrist and forearm...umm Use one hand more then other so it gains strength, use a rubber band wrap it around fingers and spread your fingers apart. Velcro sounds good but what if you fall it's gonna be hard to get your hand off.
     
  5. Potroast88

    Potroast88 YouTube Boy

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    You wasted all of that money with Doctors and such when you could have been here all along getting Nostradumbass' "rubberband solution".
    On a more serious note, I don't know what I would do if I could not grip with my right hand. :brows:
    I would be a miserable human being.
     
  6. .Pit Steelers.

    .Pit Steelers. Nostradumbass

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    .....I used rubber bands following doctor instructions after my shoulder surgery..dont start with me punk!
     
  7. Damo

    Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    Shoulder injury is not the same as MMA.

    However, some light muscle strengthening exercises may work for you. Start light and try to build up... Work a bit on hand coordination too.

    Obviously you have already talked to specialists regarding what you can do in your situation, so you'll have a better idea than anyone here.

    As for immediate solutions, I have no ideas. Velcro may not be such a stupid idea. Don't put so much on that you cannot come away from the bike in a crash, but enough to keep your hands on the bars while you work at strengthening your grip. Just on the palms too so your fingers are free to brake.

    Good luck mate, sorry to hear of a problem like this in a cyclist as yourself... Let us all know how you get on.
     
  8. Greyhound

    Greyhound Trail Rat

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    I don't think he's going to be doing much braking with that hand if his grip is that weak in the first place. But, your idea of velcro is probably his best solution. Wrap the grip with one side of the velcro, the other on the palms and fingers of the glove. Then, run your brake line on your left hand to a splitter that will activate both front and rear with one lever pull. Taa- Daaa!!
     
  9. Wumpus

    Wumpus makes avatars better

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    Maybe something like wrist straps for weight lifting. You might cut them a little shorter so they come loose a tad easier. They are designed for metal bars so a rubber grip might give them some serios gription.

     
  10. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    Im thinking a small velcro tab on the palm, just enough to help out with hangin on, but not so much that you have a hard time letting go. Also Ride clipless, that will take some of the need to twist the bars away, no holding the bike in air, just lift your feet ETC. Only thing I got to offer,hope something works for you, sucks being stuck with just road riding
     
  11. septopuss

    septopuss Chimp

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    Obviously if I spent the time and money on doctors, MRIs, and EMGs I thought of physical therapy. I tried two different places for a while with no results. My disease isn't treatable as of now and my nerve is basically shot. Although my other muscle groups have adapted, it's not enough. Right now I can't pull any kind of break lever even the slightest, and shifting is quite a chore on a road bike.

    Where would you recommend putting the velcro? A friend of mine suggested just a bit in the palm. I was thinking just strips on the fingers. They make velcro in different strengths too, but I don't know anything about it. My friend also recommended those rubber bands that are designed to break when they have force put on them. I forget what he said he used them for, but I'm worried those would break at a bad time.
     
  12. Jim Mac

    Jim Mac MAKE ENDURO GREAT AGAIN

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    Last year, Pearl Izumi made a grip/glove combo supposedly designed to enhance the "stickiness" of the grip area. You might want to check that out. Otherwise, try Oury grips (either regular or the lock on kind) - I found them to be thick and super tacky - might not solve your problem, but at least it might help to enhance the situation. Sounds like you need some PT/strengthening along with something like this! - Jim
     
  13. septopuss

    septopuss Chimp

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    Can you find the Pearl stuff? Because I can't. Also, the physical therapists dismissed me after I lost strength during treatment. I've seen tons of specialists and they all say the same thing. "Maybe PT, but other than that I haven't seen this before." My nerve is impaired, so that means no matter how hard I try it just wont get any stronger.
     
  14. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Velcro is cheap - I wouldn't analyze it too much. You could spend forever trying to figure out which strength or how much to use, or you could actually try it out. Just buy a pair of gloves you don't mind ruining, and start experimenting with quantities and strength in your back yard, see how much force it takes to tear away and how well it holds your hand in place.

    Not many people on here are going to be able to offer any experience-based advice, so try it out yourself and post up your results. It'd be interesting to see.

    Some thoughts:

    - The velcro will eventually need to be adhered to a grip or directly to the bar to keep it from moving. While you experiment, though, you could consider wrapping some tape or a plastic/rubber strip around the bar, sticky-side up, so that you can easily cut or slide the velcro off and discard it during testing without damaging your bars or a pair of grips.

    - If you get an amount that feels good, you could see if a friend or even a local tailor could stitch it directly onto your gloves.
     
  15. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    As for braking, if you're using one hand, what about running both brake lines to the same lever? That's probably what one-armed riders do?
     
  16. septopuss

    septopuss Chimp

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    Unfortunately, I only have road bikes right now. Without a bike to openly experiment on right now, I'd like to get as many ideas as I can before actually trying anything. I am writing these all down, though. Thanks for the good suggestions.
     
  17. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    ok, you want more ideas?

    How about permanently gluing a full-fingered glove to the grip?


    (yes,yes, probably adumb idea, but it might lead to a better solution?)
     
  18. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    You only get half the mechanical advantage in that case, though - it'd take twice the force to get the same amount of stopping power. There was a one-armed rider on MTBR who simply dremelled the crap out of his brake levers and bolted them together so there was one lever on top of the other, basically just a very tall lever.
     
  19. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    yeah, but we're talking about that for his good hand, yeah? Generating power shouldn't be a problem.
     
  20. CA_Descender

    CA_Descender Chimp

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    I was going to mention that as well.

    I forget his name but there was a guy who lost an arm and rode up in the BC area. I will have to pull out the DVD and find out. He is on one of the vids off the "North Shore History X" dvd.
    Anyways, he had both brakes run off the same side and a custom attachment for his prosthetic arm.

    I also recall Grimeca making a brake system that would split the front brake line and when you pulled the front lever it would apply 70% force to the front and 30% to the rear but still able to lock 'em up if needed. The valve that actually did the work could be mounted to any brake system but because the master cylinders of different companies push different amounts it may change the percentage rate applied to each brake.
     
  21. Greyhound

    Greyhound Trail Rat

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    See post #8.
     
  22. say 10

    say 10 Chimp

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    There was a woman at my work that had wrist surgey and had 2 brakes and 2 shifters on one side of the h-bar.

    I think that a bent piece of steel that Velcro to your glove could work. The steel would be bent at the finger tips to be a little larger then the bars diameter and would hold your hand in the 'gripping the bar' position, something like the letter 'J'. That way, if you stand up, the steel can swing around the bar. Something like the gymnast on the uneven bars maybe.....


    my 2 cents
     
  23. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Fatigue will be, though. When you're asking one hand/forearm to do all the work, you're going to wear out a lot faster - not to mention I'd imagine there's a lot more stress on that hand/arm anyway because it has to make up a bit for the other hand's lack of grip.

    When you top that off with half the braking power for a given squeeze, I think it's a recipe for problems
     
  24. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    Try not to be so negative. He works at a bike shop. I'm sure he can get some disc brakes that don't require as much pressure. I'm sure there's a solution that one-armed riders manage. Why not look into it for him instead of saying it won't work?
     
  25. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Interesting ideas here.

    I am curious - is your arm and forearm strength around average? If so, the velcro idea could probably work, since you just need help with grip, but not arm strength/support. If your arm is also affected, you might have a problem supporting yourself even if your hand is attached solidly. If that is case you might also look at a brace of some kind.
     
  26. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    How am I being negative? I'm providing an alternate suggestion, that strapping two levers to the same side may be a better idea for the reason that you'll have a much greater advantage when pulling on the brakes.

    Isn't it better to make a decision based on all the facts or thoughts rather than getting done doing something as elaborate (and possibly hardware-destroying) as running a second brake line to one lever and finding out that you have a hard time with arm pump?
     
  27. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    like a rollerblade wrist protector?
    It's called "brainstorming". You don't throw out any idea, you don't pose problems at this point in the process. All ideas are considered first, then you can start picking at them.
     
  28. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    I actually like the "grip attached to glove" concept. That way you'd just slide your hand in and be good to go. You could also try to develop some kind of "clipless" handlebar system. Literally, screw or attach some mechanism to the handlebar, and sew a cleat into your glove.

    If you had some connections, you could have somebody weld in the end of a handlebar, then drill and tap it to 15mm. Then you could screw a clipless pedal into that hole. Screw the cleat onto a plastic piece, pad the inside, then sew that into a glove. That way, you can swing your arm loose in the case of a crash. You could do the whole thing as a wrist brace, and that way lose any wrist weakness in the process.

    See if you can find any handicapped DH racer's website or info. There are a lot of paraplegic (SP?) riders who use dual braking circuits, one for the front wheels and the other for the rear.

    Best of luck, I hope you find a good solution that works. The weightlifting wraps may work well too, as a cheap, temporary solution.
     
  29. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Yes, God forbid you suggest that one way of doing things might be better than another. That would simply destroy the whole creative process :rolleyes:

    Back on topic, you have a road bike... do you have any issue with steering control? They make steering dampers to help prevent bars from turning un-intentionally. They aren't necessarily cheap, I was just wondering if that would reduce the amount of strain on your weak hand.
     
  30. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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  31. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    If nothing else, it would make your crashes more interesting.
     
  32. DH Diva

    DH Diva Wonderwoman

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    I've seen a one armed DH racer at some regional events. He does drops, jumps, you name it, all one handed. I guess he has just learned how to balance the force with one arm, like a combination of pushing and pulling on your bars instead of just holding them steady.

    Also, I understand your frustration. I destroyed the nerves/tendons/muscles/basic structure of my hand 4 years ago after a bad crash. I went from being a Pro DH racer to nothing in about .2 seconds. After 1.5 years of rehab, I had regained about 47% of the strength and movement of a normal female adult my age. My left hand tests at well above normal so I'm pretty lopsided in the strength department. Once I got back on my bike, I had to learn to ride all over again. I noticed in pictures of me riding, that sometimes I'm not even really holding on to the bars on long rides where my hand would get tired. It's just resting on the top of the bar, fingers relaxed. I practiced riding one handed on trails. Pushing and pulling the bars with my left hand to simulate the equal effort you get in from both sides that necessitates regular steering. If a one armed person can do it, I bet you can learn.

    I also ride dirt bikes so I have had to get creative with my controls. I have an autoclutch system which takes one lever out of the equation. One day I may also have to have a custom left handed throttle tube made because eventually, my hand will have to be fused and I'll lose the majority of my grip as well.

    So, anythings possible. It may suck to have to learn the basics all over again, but your obviously motivated and the human body will adapt if it's user is determined enough.

    Edit-I just saw that someone mentioned steering dampers. They are super! I have one on all my bikes now. They help tons!! Go Hopey!
     
  33. Biscuit

    Biscuit Turbo Monkey

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    I have the same question. Is it JUST grip or do you lack wrist strength too?

    My first thought was some sort of weight lifting strap like above, they are intended to allow people to hold onto more than they can physically grip.

    My other thought was using some of these, along with velcro. Mounting the grips so the flange is on teh outside if your hand has a tendency to slide off sideways... but that depends.

     
  34. MTBstud12

    MTBstud12 Monkey

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    so gription huh? im gonna have to check that one out in websters ebonics dictionary
     
  35. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    That is exactly what the one-armed riders do. I think there are cables which have two strands coming from them, for tandems. Probably easier to find than a double hydro lever.
     
  36. Wumpus

    Wumpus makes avatars better

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  37. Red Rabbit

    Red Rabbit Picky Pooper

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    Try a Hopey steering dampener.

    Here

    Made in PA by a small company. Great guys.

    Edit: Got nija'd
     
  38. DH Diva

    DH Diva Wonderwoman

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    Tim Hopey is a super nice guy. His dampers really work well and last. I've have two for years now and have never had a problem with them. The level of damping is adjustable on the fly. Worth the $$ in my opinion if you need a little extra help because of upper body injuries or disorders.
     
  39. Damo

    Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    Not a bad idea really. Slipping your hand into glove when riding. I am sure if you use a glove without a velcro closure, your hand will slide out in a crash...

    Are we talking DH or XC here too?
     
  40. septopuss

    septopuss Chimp

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    My arm isn't so weak that I can't support my weight. 95% of people don't even notice I have a problem even close up. I can steer and hold my weight fine on a road bike even for long rides.

    Thanks for everyones suggestions. I'll try to clear up any gray area with my condition. My hand is weak in that I can't really use my fingers. I can barely make a fist. My thumb doesn't flex at the knuckle more than 30 degrees. It's clear that I've lost some muscle mass all the way from my shoulder to my hand, but I can generally lift things okay if I get my wrist wrapped around it. Fatigue hasn't been a problem when I road bike, not even on a metric century. I don't put a lot of strain on it when road biking, but it's some. As it is right now, obviously I can't squeeze even a hydraulic brake lever.

    I've been putting some thought into it myself and I think that once I find a good place to put velcro I can pinpoint it and cut holes through a grip and place velcro where the holes are. this would add a little bit more mass for the rest of my hand to wrap around. And a little comfort and vibration dampening. I'd also consider a pair of cloves with a considerable amount of padding/gel. As for my right hand doing the rest of the work, I'm sure it will take some getting used to. I don't know much about hydraulic brakes, but I'm sure they'd be easier on the arm.