Handbiking is quickly gaining traction as one of the top leisure sports of choice amongst the Australian disability community. A handbike, also known as a handcycle or arm bike, is an adapted tricycle which is powered using the arms rather than the legs. Handbikes feature two large rear wheels and one steerable front wheel which is controlled by the rider via a set of handlebars. The pedals on a handbike are typically attached as part of the steering mechanism, and the rider rotates them with their hands and arms in order to propel the cycle forward.
The Benefits of Handbiking
Handbikes provide not only a relaxing leisure activity or hobby, but also a great all-round exercise routine. Some of the benefits of handbiking include:
- - A great cardio and muscular workout
- - Strength training and building
- - Improved upper body and core muscle strength
- - A means of transport, similar to conventional bicycles
- - A fun variation to your regular routine
- - An opportunity to join a team and compete nationally and internationally
- - A social activity which can be done in groups, or as part of a club
Types of Handbikes
There is a large variety of handbikes available on the market, and each cycles is designed for its own specific purpose. Some of these variations include handbikes for children, handbikes for cross-training and competitive racing, tandem bikes, and off-road adapted mountain bikes. Handbikes can also be uniquely designed and built to suit your individual needs.
There are some local cycling clubs in Australia, such as Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association in Queensland, which offer handbikes for hire to club members to try out on a weekly basis if you are unsure which bike would best suit your needs.
The Best Australian Handbiking Routes
Depending on their design, handbikes can be ridden on sealed surfaces, bike paths, wheelchair accessible walking trails, mountain bike paths, and a variety of exciting places in your local community. In order to ride your handbike in Australia, all you will need is a safe and roadworthy bike and an Australian Safety Standards approved helmet.
Encounter Bikeway, Victor Harbour, South Australia
The Encounter Bikeway is a wheelchair accessible bicycle path that links beautiful Victor Harbour to Goolwa via the bustling seaside tourist towns of Port Elliot and Middleton. The total trail distance is 30 km, but there are many shorter routes to follow along the trail. Encounter Bikeway is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, and the path is shared by cyclists, handbikers, pedestrians, skaters, and wheelchair users.
There are plenty of beautiful places to stay, and even more amazing and wheelchair accessible things to do and see during your visit to the bay. Why not spend an afternoon traveling to Granite Island National Park in a horse-drawn carriage for a penguin sightseeing tour, or take the family to explore the SA Whale Centre?
The River Torrens Linear Trail, Adelaide, South Australia
The River Torrens Linear Trail follows a 30 km stretch of the Torrens River from Athelstone through the CBD, and then on to the river mouth at West Beach. Line with River Red Gums, the trail takes you through the heart of the CBD. There are many playgrounds, picnic areas, bathrooms, and duck feeding spots along the way. Shared by pedestrians, cyclists, handbikers, and wheelchair users alike, The River Torrens Linear Trail is a true oasis in the city centre.
Champion Lakes, Armadale, Western Australia
Enjoy a quiet 5 km bike ride around the Champion Lakes Regatta Centre, overlooking the gorgeous lake. If you come during training or competition times, you'll see rowing teams, canoeing competitions, and dragon boating all in the purpose-built facility on the lake. The path is sealed and suitable for walking, cycling, prams, handbikers, and wheelchair users. You will find wheelchair accessible bathroom amenities and parking nearby.
Peninsula Link Trail (South), Moorooduc, Victoria
Just one of Victoria’s gorgeous and handbike accessible cycling paths, the Peninsula Link Trail is considered to be the largest piece of infrastructure designed for health, fitness, and fun in Metropolitan Melbourne’s southeast area. Enjoy a serene 25km handbike ride from the Eramosa Road roundabout to Centenary Park, or make your own way through the trail for a shorter, but just as beautiful journey.
The Intercity Cycleway, Tasmania
The Intercity Cycleway ties together a wonderful selection of Tasmania’s most stunning locations, including: Hobart, the Tasman Bridge, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Cornelian Bay, Moonah Town Centre, Barossa Creek Path, Glenorchy Town Centre, Berriedale, and Claremont.
The 15.6km shared track makes for a great family ride, or a quiet getaway to explore the Derwent River. Along the way, you will find cafes and restaurants, drinking water, picnic areas, and playgrounds. This track is a truly adventurous way to see all the beauty that Tasmania has to offer.
Australian Handbiking Communities and Organisations
Disability Sports Australia
Disability Sports Australia is the country’s leading national body representing athletes with disabilities. They provide detailed guides on handbiking and adaptive mountain biking in Australia, both professionally and as a hobby.
Break the Boundary
Founded in 2012, volunteer-run organisation Break the Boundary advocates in favour of accessibility and inclusion for disabled people in recreational and competitive mountain biking. They act as a central resource for individuals who are looking for more information on adaptive mountain biking, and run camps, clinics, and riding groups.
Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association
The Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association works to help people with disabilities in Queensland participate in recreational and competitive sports, and lead active, healthy and fulfilling lives. Among their many other resources, they provide an excellent guide for handbiking in Australia.
Handbiking is quickly becoming one of the most popular adapted sports in the Australia, and with good reason! Whether you’re look for a new hobby, a great workout, a social activity to meet new friends, or a fun way to get out and explore, handbiking offers it all.
Check out Quickie's range of Wheelchair handbike add on options and start exploring.