Handcycling and tricycling as a part of rehabilitation program of persons with lower extremity impairments Print E-mail

Field: Rehabilitation program
Target group: Patients/clients in rehabilitation with lower extremity impairments (including wheelchair users)
Institution: University Hospitals UZ K.U.Leuven, Pellenberg site, Pellenberg, Belgium


  • Prepare patients/clients for participation in the 20K race of Brussels.
  • Improve the patients’/clients’ physical activity and physical fitness level.
  • Promote an active lifestyle after rehabilitation.
  • Prepare patients/clients for reintegration into society after rehabilitation.

The 20K race of Brussels has become a very popular sporting event in Belgium, with approximately 25.000 participants every year, including an opportunity for handbike users to participate as well. Since 2005, the rehabilitation centre of Pellenberg, a part of the Catholic University of Leuven’s University Hospitals, has reserved a number of slots for patients/clients to participate in the race. To prepare possible participants, the rehabilitation centre has developed training programmes, and organises weekly training sessions to ensure successful participation. These sessions also include information seminars regarding nurture, injury prevention, benefits of active lifestyle, etc… As such, the handbike training programme has extended the existing sports programme, and has contributed to a further optimisation of the rehabilitation programme of patients/clients with lower extremity impairments. The programme aims to improve the patients’/clients’ physical activity and physical fitness level, and therefore enhances the rehabilitation process as a whole. Furthermore, the programme promotes an active lifestyle after rehabilitation, and prepares patients/clients for reintegration into society after rehabilitation.
The handbike programme has led to the development of a counselling agency for handcycling and tricycling. The agency offers information about equipment, possible adaptations, training advice, etc… aiming to promote cycling as a means to enhance and ensure an active lifestyle in persons with lower extremity impairments. 70

Contact information:
Joeri Verellen
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Tervuursevest 101
3001 Heverlee
Tel. +32 16 32 91 27
Fax. +32 16 32 91 96
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The target group of this programme requires therapeutic competences and knowledge in:

  • Understanding the general recreation and sport adaptation model for patients/clients including their personal profile, the function related implications, the specific activity requirements, and the aim of participation.
  • Understanding and evaluate the interrelation between determinants of human functioning.
  • Understanding indications and contra-indications of sports and adapted physical activities in the rehabilitation of specific populations.

A well-run programme for persons with lower extremity impairments requires a pedagogical competences and knowledge in these areas:

  • Understand the sport-specific equipment – user – interfaces.
  • Understand the major components influencing the process of adapting activity situations.

Management competences and knowledge are equally important mainly in:

  • Understanding the various community based physical activity and sports organisations eligible for patients/clients in the Adapted Physical Activity programme.

Example of good practice was described by Joeri Verellen from KU Leuven in Belgium.