HANDCycling from Home


Once you’ve got your bike and trainer set up and working, look into taking things a step further and investigating training apps, online and off.

  • Magnetic, fluid, and smart trainers all work well with road bikes.
  • On the wheel, friction/wheel resistance (as opposed to direct drive) are the easiest units to connect to your handcycle.
  •  Most trainers will come with a heavy-duty metal skewer that you should swap out with your racing skewer, to ensure the best fit.
  • Depending on the trainer and handcycle, you may need to lower or remove the footrests out of the way to attach to the trainer.
  • If your feet are resting on the floor, you may want to use some foam to ensure the skin on your lower body isn’t damaged by pressure on the handcycle frame or seat.
  • Once the friction wheel of the trainer touches the wheel of your handcycle (at regular pressure), add a half turn of tension. If the drive wheel slips under heavy load, add more tension.
  • Direct drive trainers can work, but you need to match the cassette with the gear shifting system on your handcycle, your chain size, etc.
  • Some hardcore handcyclists will mount their direct drive trainers underneath a table or desk, hanging down. You can find examples of these on YouTube. Aftermarket brackets are made for this too. The advantage is that you can use your footrests to hold your legs in the correct position.

    Zwift is a popular training app that allows you to power your avatar (bicycle or handcycle) online in the virtual world with other cyclists around the globe. By pairing your handcycle with indoor training gear, it creates a smooth and realistic ride. On Zwift you can train, race, and do customized workouts from the comfort of your home.

    Some finer points on Zwift that you might find helpful:
    • It’s a subscription service, and the first 7 days are free. After that it’s $18.99 CDN a month.
    • Smart trainers work best, but as long as you can connect your handcycle to your computer or iPad, with a speed or power sensor, you can connect to Zwift.
    • Once you’re logged into Zwift, decide on a handcycle or bicycle frame.
    • Many of us use the word ‘Handcycle’ in our name. You can search for others and connect to them this way.