Cycling with a prosthesis in 3 steps

Cycling is a fantastic way to get moving: it helps you stay fit and gets you from A to B quickly. But what steps do you need to take if you wear a prosthetic leg and want to go cycling? 

1. Choose the right bike

Choosing the right bike can make all the difference. You start by choosing a model. Most people with a prosthetic leg – both men and women – prefer a women’s bike with a low frame. Thanks to the low step-through, you can easily step over the bike and do not have to swing your (prosthetic) leg over the bike. This makes it easier to get on and off.

Hand brakes

A bike with hand brakes instead of coaster brakes is preferable because it gives you more control. When you suddenly brake with coaster brakes, your rear wheel can block and skid. Obviously, you want to avoid dangerous situations as much as possible! 


Also make sure that the height of your seat lets you place your feet on the ground. To stop and get off your bike safely, your healthy leg needs to be able to absorb your body weight. So, it is safer if you do not need to get off your seat to stop.  

2. Choose the right modifications

For some people, a standard bike is suitable. Others find it more comfortable to have a few modifications made to their bike, so that it better meets their needs. 


You can choose to have the pedal of your bike modified. A stationary crank, for example, makes it possible to bike with one leg. The pedal on your prosthetic side will not move in this case. The rotation point of your pedal can also be modified with an eccentric pedal crank. This is particularly useful if you have difficulty bending your knee when cycling.  

A common problem among cyclists with a prosthetic leg is that their foot slides off the pedal. Modifications can also solve this problem. You can use a pedal with a rough surface, for example, to give your shoe sole a better grip. For the same reason, a shoe with a small heel can be useful because the heel helps prevent your foot from sliding off the pedal. 

Other bike types

Unable to use a regular bike, even with modifications? You might want to consider a three-wheeler or a sporty two or three-wheeled recumbent bike. A tricycle provides more balance and stability, which means greater safety for you as a cyclist. 

  • Cycling with a lower leg prosthesis: When cycling, your knee sometimes needs to bend further than when walking. This can require a modification to your socket, such as shortening the back of your socket to make bending possible. But shortening your socket can make it more difficult to walk. In this case, you may need to have a sports prosthesis in order to cycle. Talk to your O&P professional about the possibilities. 
  • Cycling with a thigh prosthesis: Have you undergone a thigh amputation and want to ride a bike? Pay extra attention to the quality of your seat. Many amputees prefer a narrow and soft seat.  

3. Prepare well

A good start is half the battle. Prepare well by training and practicing before you actually get on a bike. Proper training lets you cycle safely and with confidence. 

Stationary bike

It is sometimes possible during rehabilitation to start bike training. This is usually done on a stationary bike. After undergoing a leg amputation, you often have to get used to the loss of weight on one side of your body. You literally have to find the right balance, also on a bike. Cycling on a stationary bike can help with this. It also lets you use your leg muscles again. After all, they need to be trained as well!

Unlike on a regular bike, you never have to suddenly stop and get off a stationary bike. This makes it extremely important to practice getting on and off the bike. Ask for help the first few times, so that you don’t fall. While training, the focus should be on using your healthy leg as optimally as possible. In other words, practice such things as pushing off from your healthy leg when getting on the bike and placing your weight on the same leg when getting off.