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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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Everything posted by Rikk

  1. A friend of mine said I should write up an article with all the things I use to help me ride and something about myself tp put it in perspective and this is the result. I hope you find it useful and please feel free to either post or email me comments good or bad :) Enjoy. --------------------------------------------------- An Amputee and a Mountain Bike January 06 I had an operation on my ankle to lengthen every tendon to allow me to put my foot flat on the floor, this was a left over from a large accident I had in 1983 which left me as a RBK amputee and my left leg having loss of muscle and joint movement. After a second operation to treat the arthritis in the ankle and lots of physio it was time to sort my fitness out. I started at Redbridge Sport and Leisure Centre as the people where great and it was fully accessible, after 4 months I was talking to a friend at work about getting fit and he said “why not get a mountain bike, you love the countryside?” I laughed thinking to myself yea right like I could do that..... But it had started me thinking, perhaps I could, I used an exercise bike at the gym.....hmm maybe. I bought my mountain bike a month later with no idea what I was actually getting but luckily enough was steered very well by the shop I bought it from. The first ride wasn’t very interesting consisting of a ride up the road to the local park once around and back home (about 1.5 miles) I was tired out and very sore, but buzzing from the feeling of freedom. That ride immediately showed I needed to make some changes as the back of my knee where the socket had dug in was a nice red sore mess. I needed something to stop the need to bend the knee to much, lots of internet searching later this turned up. This helped massively and solved the problem almost totally although has it’s own drawbacks as we’ll see soon. I’d also been trying different ways of keeping my feet on the pedals especially the prosthetic one. I tried normal pedals...bad, toe clips which where ok till you needed to stop and get the tin leg out quick then I ended up on the floor then a suggestion from a mtb forum was to get some GOOD quality flat pedals and a pair of 5:10 Impact mtb boots. WOW what a difference, the soles of the 5:10’s are made from the same rubber as rock climbing shoes and they stick like a limpet, problem solved. For a good 3-4 months I was a happy bunny going further and further around the park then venturing to Hainault forest which had........HILLS, this is when you find out how unfit you are again after all that time on the flat. During this period I’d signed up and been chatting on a cycling forum (www.uk-mtb.com) and the guys on there had been and still are incredibly helpful and supportive, a group of them went every weekend to another nearby forest called Thorndon Country park and after lots of prodding and cajoling finally got me to join them. They kept to a much easier route than they normally did and also kept the pace down but boy oh boy was it hard work especially as it was deep winter and the mud was 6-8inches deep in places and I’d never been off the fire roads before. I didn’t do bad but it showed up two things. The first I still wasn’t anywhere near as fit as I thought I was and the swing crank once you get properly off-road was hitting every root and rock and making going extremely hard, also because of the way it works you lose power on that leg as well. I bowed out halfway round finding the going very hard but more due to being totally exhausted, finding my way back was interesting going the wrong way at one point and finding myself face to face with a 25 foot deep V gully covered in mud and roots, I cycled down then got off and proceeded to spend a good 10 minutes getting up the other side then sliding all the way back down in the mud and finally getting up by holding onto a fence and pulling myself and the bike up an inch at a time. By the time I got back to the car I was so past exhausted it wasn’t funny and covered head to toe in thick mud, but DAMN had I enjoyed myself or what. This was the start of a slippery slope I’m still on. The realisation dawned that I needed to take the swing crank off if I wanted to get off-road to any great extent so one afternoon took the bull by the horns, well my spare leg anyway and took a saw to it. I cut it 4 inches shorter and also cut out the back of the socket with a Dremel to allow the knee to bend further and the various tendons in the area to work unhindered. It was amazing, so much more comfortable and quite a bit more power as well. This was what I ended up with Needless to say my prosthetist Laura was none to happy and I got a good tongue lashing, but now months down the line the legs been lengthened back to normal with some other tweaks being made and we’re both happy The next month was great fun out and about all the time in the mud and rain but two big issues I still had where getting up hills and getting off the bike. Hills, the problems here is power and the ability to stand and pedal. With the pedals in the 6/12 position the only way to move forward is to push with one knee and pull with the other till the pedals are in 1/7 then you put your weight into it. For a BK it’s very hard to do this and for an AK impossible on one side so on anything slightly steep I would just run out of steam without the ability to stand and power up the last section. Off I go back to the internet hunting for a solution and finally found the Rotor. This is geared so the power pedal is always in the 1 position when the other pedal is at 6, this allows you to always be putting power into a stroke. After this was fitted the difference was amazing, I could now get up hills I previously walked and could stand and pedal for short periods allowing me to get over tough obstacles. In all honesty this one item has made more difference to my cycling than anything else and is the one thing I would NOT give up even if I had to give everything else away. Ok, getting off and on the bike how hard is that? Well on the road or in the park it’s not, but once you start getting to do off-road area’s no matter easy they look it becomes a problem. If you have the seat adjusted as it should be it’s quite hard for an amputee as you can’t point the toes on the prosthetic leg to keep in contact with the pedals, this gets really stupid if you on an off camber slope. I mentioned this on the uk-mtb forum and said wouldn’t it be great if someone made a seat post that went up and down so I could click a button before stopping and the seat would drop. The immediate responce was “have you looked at the Gravity Dropper?” Well blow me down its exactly what the doctor ordered. Short time later it was installed, solved the problem totally and has been superb ever since. Roll forward 6-8 months and I’m out 2-4 times a week doing things I’d never have thought I could of over distances I could of only dreamed about and loving every damn minute of it, well apart from the huge muddy puddles full of horse poo, as it tastes awful. Now before I end with a list of all the bits I’ve found useful I’d like to thank a few special people who’ve helped me greatly. Trent, for always pushing me but knowing when not to Luke and Tony at Triton Cycles (http://www.tritoncycles.co.uk/), for putting up with my constant upgrades and being a really great couple of blokes always willing to help www.uk-mtb.com, to many people to mention who all helped me get going with support, suggestions and endless patience with my noobie questions Laura, my prosthetist who’s always patient, understanding and doesn’t mind trying something a little different. Hope you found this useful and please if you have any comments or suggestions drop me an email rikk@golum.co.uk ............Rikk Flat Pedals Something like these that are large and have a lot of pins to dig into the sole. 5:10 Impacts http://www.stif.co.uk/shop/mb_software_pro...ten&cat=211 http://www.fiveten.com/ Swing Crank http://www.highpath.co.uk/cycles/special/index.html Rotor UK Supplier http://www.velotechservices.co.uk/rotors.htm Manufacturer (lot more info here) http://www.rotorbike.com/2006/rotorgen.htm Gravity Dropper http://www.gravitydropper.com/ Pump Having to pump a tyre up on the trail can be a pain as we’re not very good at crouching so take a peek at this pump :- You basically stand on it and pull the rope handle like starting an outboard motor, pumps very quickly and no need to crouch or sit on the floor as you’d do with a normal mini pump  http://www.cyclaire.com/bikepump.html Ergon Grips The grips they do are fantastic for stopping numbness and tingling in the hands/fingers and as most of us use either crutches or a stick at times it affects us more. http://www.ergon-bike.com/en/grips/index.html Lifeventure Towels These little things are superb, pack down really tiny but absorb so much sweat and dry out in no time at all. I always carry one on the bike and stop for a dry off every 40-60 mins and finds it helps massively. You can pick these up in most hiking/outdoors shops like Milletts. http://www.lifeventure.co.uk/htm/washgear/...ibre-towels.htm X-Static Liner Liner These are liners that go in between your stump and the normal silicon liner, they soak up sweat and stop rashes/infections/smells due to the sweat. I used to stop every 30-60 mins depending how hot it was to dry off, now most of the time using these I either don’t stop or at most have one change halfway through. They are so much more comfortable and my stump dosn’t look like you fingers do when they have been in the bath for an hour anymore  Apart from the Rotor these have made the biggest impact on my cycling since I got them recently. http://www.kingsleymfg.com/KMFGStore/Catal...mp;advmode=True UK Supplier. CHANECO® Chris Hanley & Partners 4 Kilvey Road Brackmills Northampton, NN4 7BQ United Kingdom Tel: 01604-709999 Fax: 01604-700057 Dermasalve Great general purpose cream for the end of the day, very refreshing and soothing. http://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/ Sheabutter This stuff is the dogs and I’ve not found any better moisturizer, a friend’s wife told me about this as it’s the base ingredient in every expensive moisturizer but unrefined it’s all natural with nothing extra. The stuff lasts for ages, a must try and even if you don’t like it give it to the wife she’ll love it  http://www.sheabuttercottage.co.uk/ Bodyglide This is a lubricant/protectorant for the body, idea is you get a sore spot/blister you pop this on and it stops the chaffing in the area, not had a chance to try it as since moving to suspension liners I’ve not had any. http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ProductSearchAdvan...e&cat=cycle Adaptskin Only just started trying this. Specifically for amputees, check the site out. https://www.adaptlabs.com/adaptskin.htm And lastly for anyone who’s interested my injuries where :- Left tib/fib compound fracture Left Femur compound fracture Left hip 1/3 of ball broken off 30% muscle loss on left side due to injuries Right below knee amp Right femur fractured Punctured lung For 20+ years I’d been walking on tip toe due to the muscles and tendons in my left foot shrinking till the operation mentioned at the start.
  2. Rikk


    Hmmm, my area doesn't have anyway to appeal they say no and that's it tough. The one thing I did notice to late is when it mentions distance walked, it's distance you can walk without being in sever discomfort which for me is zero, as with chronic arthritis and a very boney stump it always hurts. So next time I'll actually read it properly and fill it in accordingly. May get another this week and re-apply. It does annoy the hell out of me that i got refused but 80% of people I see with them get around much better than I do.
  3. Rikk


    I'm rather interested in what or how people are doing things to get DLA or mobility being a BK. I'm a rbk with my left leg having really bad arthritis and 40% muscle loss. I've been refused twice for DLA and now have been refused a blue parking badge as I'm to mobile. Am I missing some trick here or are there such massive differences in the way this is done around the country?
  4. Rikk

    courtesy car problems

    I think the thing is it's a "courtesy car", ie a freebie they offer as a courtesy in which case they have no obligation to supply anything. Why not just use one of their standard auto's, I drive with my left leg and have never had any real issues using a standard configuration. Occasionally the fit is a little awkward on hire/loan cars but fine for just getting around a bit.
  5. It's only about 3mm thick so should be fine, also if it is to thick have the leg shortened by the same amount so you end up with the same length. Alternatly, shave material off the foot to make it flat then put the new sole on that.
  6. Try this company http://www.feetfirst.resoles.co.uk/cycling...shoe_repair.php they resole all kinds of shoes/boots with stealth rubber which was made for rock climbing, it's VERY durable and VERY grippy. I'm sure if you phoned them and explained the issue they would sell you some of the sole material to use. I got one of my mountain bike boots done in it.
  7. Rikk

    let's see your bikes

    Your didn't specify "motor" so it is :)
  8. There are lots of different seats out there, also don't just go with what's on offer, buy a couple of cheap ones off ebay and alter them around, cut bits out and see what works for you. It mat also be that you need a leg specifically for cycling, I used my normal leg for about 3 months till I knew this is what I wanted to do them went back to my fitter and got one made up just for the bike.
  9. Why not go to a local gym and use an exercise bike a few time to get the feel of it. Also worthwhile putting the seat down while you practice your getting on/off, but DON'T leave it down, it's very very bad for your knee's and especially as you only have the one doing all the work.
  10. Rikk

    Wobbly thigh

    You'l never get them to look the same as the majority of muscle in the thigh are to control lower leg movement which unless you have a very long stump you won't be able to generate anywhere near the force of a normal leg. I've been cycling now for 3 years and go out 3-4 times a week doing about 40-50 miles of strenuous cross country and although I've put on LOADS of muscle on the tin leg side it's still nowhere like the good side. You really need a combination of strength and toning, squats as mentioned above is good but the best is stairs, just go up and down the stairs till you drop ;) then for toning you want easy and repetitive like walking or gentle cycling.
  11. Rikk


    Why not ask if you can go back on a voluntary basis for 2 weeks to prove to both parties you are still capable of doing the job? if at the end your fine take the job, if your not shake hands and leave but your still on your disability. If you can do but with a little difficulty and your walking is mostly outside how about asking if you could part fund a segway to help you?
  12. I've updated the article massively, have a peek here and let me know what you all think..
  13. Rikk

    Osseointegration Part One

    Thanks for the update, been following this with great anticipation :) Would it be possible to have some pictures of the stump/implant, and also how it attaches to the socket?
  14. Rikk

    What you look like?

    LOL, nice and thin now although I've never been what you'd call fat :) I really should change my avatar, no idea why I use that.
  15. Rikk

    What you look like?

    I'm easy enough to spot, and don't normally look like a mincer just whenever a camera is pointed at me 8)
  16. Here's a couple of good links, the first shows body weight % per part and the 2nd will calculate you ideal weight etc and also compensates for amupations. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=zLniRal...hl=en#PPA736,M1 http://www.dietitian.com/calcbody.php
  17. It does to a certain extent, but having my amp 20+ years ago it's pretty settled so all I've had is two new sockets in 2 years but the difference in the way i feel far outweighs the odd extra socket. Should be picking my new cycling leg up in a week so can get back to really going for it as this one hasn't been changed in 2 years and I got a couple of blisters after two very hard rides.
  18. I'm just keeping it up all the time now, eating fairly normally but healthy food, nothing fried, the odd cake etc. But I'm also out on the bike 4-5 times a week doing 8-16 miles cross country each time. I aim to loose 1-2lbs a month as at the same time I'm still putting on a lot of muscle mass. Over the past 2 years I've dropped from 16st to 12.4 and want to get to about 11.6 my body fats dropped from 22% to 15.5% and I'd like to get that down another % to finally get ride of the last remnants of a tummy. I think a lower leg is 7% body weight so I'm aiming for 12.5-13 stone if I was one bit :)
  19. Rikk

    targets for this season

    Take a peek at this site, the pictures make it much more obvious whats going on :) http://www.highpath.co.uk/cycles/instruct/swing.html You do loose some power and ground clearance though, but for cycling without needing a specific leg for it's it's very good :)
  20. Rikk

    targets for this season

    Unless you walk very straight footed you'l almost certainly need to turn the ankle either inwards or outwards to get the foot correct on the pedal, this is one of the reasons I have a specific leg for cycling. Easiest way to see is sit on a bench with your legs dangling over, unless your artificial leg points straight forwards it will need turning. You can also get around it to start with by putting your heal on the pedal rather than the ball of the foot, but this can cause it's own problems like hitting the front wheel on your foot if it's a small framed bike.
  21. Rikk

    targets for this season

    OBL, which leg is it you've lost? just asking as I don't use my crank extension any more so you're more than welcome to it but it's for a right leg as like pedals the screws/threads in it are handed to the side it goes on. Anyway let me know, and if OBL can't use it and anyone else wants it let me know. We're having a sports/activities day at my limb centre on 6th of June where I'll be strutting my stuff and answering Q's, hopefully get a few people motivated :) Limb centre is in harold wood btw if anyone fancied a visit, food supplied ;) What I'd love to do is win the lottery and open some kind of charity to get disabled people on bikes, you know supply the parts needed to modify bikes, a mechanic and perhaps skills days to get people onto the next step....oh well we can all dream :)
  22. Rikk

    targets for this season

    Cycle the Flitch way, 32 mile round trip I think. Take a weeks cycling holiday in the North Yorkshire Moors. Get my jeep out of mothballs and start offroading again Start doing more photography again. Find more ways to get amputee's back on their bikes ;)
  23. Rikk

    Amputee Games

    I've sent three emails to the guy asking some questions and also asking if I'd be allowed to photograph at the event as I do action/sports photography and not had any replies at all. I'm at home tomorrow so will try phoning and see if I have anymore luck that way. Not seen anything in the limb center about this at all, you'd think they would have fliers there. I was also rather annoyed that you could only participate if you'd had your amputation 1-3 years ago, surely if your good enough to compete what difference does it make :(
  24. Rikk

    fitness exercise

    You'd be better off leaving it on as a lot of exercises say like sit ups and swiss ball work both sides of your stomach, if you only have the one leg on you' only be working one side of your stomach. Try and do them as normally as possible just adapt yourself as you go, like for me press ups I do from the knee's rather than feet. It's also worth finding a decent site to ask Q's on as normally there is several exercises that do the same thing but in different ways so if you cna't do it one way there may be another.
  25. Rikk

    Treatment in U.S airports

    I'm with OBL on this, living in and around London all my life and having friends killed in various IRA and other terrorist bombs it doesn't stop me doing anything or going anywhere in my day to day private or work life. But when measures are put in place to safeguard myself and others you knuckle down and live with it, like when the ring of steel is up around London and the traffic grinds to a halt. You carry on the best you can knowing the measures are there for a reason, you don't B..ch and whine and press your horn as all you do is pee everyone off. I couldn't help but chuckle at the comment thinking on the one hand your talking about fighting and killing people alongside someone but conversely your not happy to have the front of your trouser brushed against to help safeguard everyone else, funnily enough my view would be the total opposite of that ;) And as for treating newbies badly, why bring that up. If someone posts something that needs a certain response they get it, I don't look at their post count and go "ahhh their new, I'll agree with them then" and send you off with a pat on the head and hair tussle.