Dr. Hillel Admoni’s right leg was amputated above the knee when he was 22, as a result of a military injury. Perhaps this is what spurred him on to become a physician and to specialize in orthopedics. Although he was completely rehabilitated, Dr. Admoni was not able to find a sport that he felt comfortable taking part in — that is until he discovered the hand bicycle and Etgarim’s riding clubs for the disabled. Admoni says : “In Etgarim those who are paralyzed in the legs can use hand bikes, those without hands can use regular bikes, and the blind ride on tandem bikes with a seeing partner,” he said. “There is actually almost no disability which can prevent the participant from riding a bike.”
As a doctor he treats many patients who have undergone leg amputation and he actively recommends bicycle riding as part of their recovery. “As a dynamic activity, riding helps to rehabilitate the knee joints. Moreover, since it is done sitting down there is no body weight placed on the knees. Done sensibly it’s not hard work and it can definitely speed the patient’s recovery,” Admoni says.
The doctor also stresses that bicycle riding can help the patient recover emotionally as well as physically. It increases confidence, contributes to a feeling of freedom, provides contact with nature and enables the patient to feel independent and empowered.
As a member of Etgarim’s bicycle riding club Admoni also recommends group riding. “It gives you the confidence that you’re not alone, and that there is help if you need it. More importantly, it encourages bonding among the group members and real friendships are formed,” he adds.
Dr. Admoni rides on a tandem bike with his good friend Shimon Avitan, whose right leg was also amputated. “We both use only our left legs. This is a technique we perfected and we’re probably the only ones in the world who can do this. It made me realize that every disability has a solution,” Admoni sums up.