Monday, May 18, 2009

Custom Cycling Prosthetic Leg

I went racing last weekend at a very hot but very scenic road race. When I pulled up to the line, I found myself next to a guy with an interesting right leg. Actually, it wasn't a leg, it was a custom cycling prosthesis. The Airborne patches on the stump sock gave away the cause of the amputation and when I asked the guy about it, he told me a little more. The VA, he said, was really cheap when it came to prosthetics and wouldn't spring for a high tech peg leg. So, knowing a couple of machinists, he designed it and worked with some guys to build it himself. He wanted a peg style leg because a prosthetic with an ankle/foot saps pedalling energy in the ankle joint and flexibility of the foot. The socket terminated in a machined cylinder which joined it to a carbon fiber tubular peg. At the end of the peg was a Speedplay Frog cleat. This was his cycling only prosthetic. He said that he had lost a screw during warm up so he was hoping the leg would last him through the race! I wish I had got a picture of it but didn't run into the guy after the race.

It gave a whole new dimension to guys who race on what they make!


Mark said...

While I was in the Army we always motivated one another by trying to be tough in one way or another but this takes the cake! Now that's hardcore! Was this a Cross or MTB race? Or road?

-p said...

It was a road race, 40 miles. Clearly this guy's motivation and smarts are put to better use here in the USA than in the service of our cheap skate army.

Mark said...

Got to thank the Bush era for cheapening the armed services. Glad I got out when I did!

Still, good to see American ingenuity is still alive. Hope the guy patents the design and makes some money.