the need

Arm-powered tricycles and rowing machines enable people with lower extremity limitations to participate in cycling activities. However, a two-wheeled device is needed for these users.

accessible cycling

handbike with accessible controls

handbike with accessible controls

a rider's legs are extended forward while rotating cycle with hands

the solution

The handbike is the first device that allows people without the use of their legs to enjoy the balance and ride of a two-wheeled bicycle.

project development

The handbike features a raised seat platform to ease transfers from a wheelchair. Steering, drive, and braking functions are contained in a single hand control assembly. Back-pedaling applies the brakes. Outriggers with small wheels deploy during stops and transfers. A tandem version of the handbike allows the front rider to pedal using either their legs or their hands.

Peter Axelson worked as a student advisor with Candy Minz and Doug Schwandt at Stanford University to develop a prototype. Doug Schwandt continued to refine and develop the handbike as an engineer at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Center.

current status

The handbike is currently being manufactured. Interested parties should contact Doug Schwandt.

Those interested in purchasing a handbike should consider reading the article “Purchasing Tips for Handcycles” in Active Living (May/June 1999, volume 8, issue 2). Relevant articles can also be found in adaptive sports magazines such as Sports ‘N Spokes and New Mobility.


This research was co-funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Center for Injury Prevention & Control (NCIPC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Grant # 1 R43 HD36533-01.