Video: Amputee back in saddle thanks to revolutionary prosthetic knee

Device pioneered by US mountain biker gives Epsom cyclist hope of return to competition

by Simon_MacMichael   April 8, 2010  

Bartlett Tendon.JPG

A keen cyclist from Epsom who lost a leg after a road traffic accident four years ago is back on his bike after becoming the first person in Europe to be fitted with a revolutionary new prosthetic limb.

Glyn Theobald, aged 42, who is the manager of the Centre Court shopping centre in Wimbledon, underwent an above-the-knee amputation following his accident in 2006, and believed he had little hope of ever riding again.

Now, however, he is not only once again pedalling, but also thinking of getting back into competing in mountain bike endurance races of up to 100 miles in distance, according to the http://leftsideinc.com/?page_id=74">Epsom Guardian.

The newspaper said that Mr Theobald has been assisted in his efforts by Buckinghamshire-based PACE Rehabilitation and the manufacturers of the new device, which is called the Bartlett Tendon, developed over a nine-year period by an American amputee who is himself a mountain biker.

And it’s clear from the video below of the device's inventor in action on his bike that it can handle punishing terrain.

Mr Theobald told the newspaper: “I rode for years before my accident and this is a sport related device which gives me a controllable knee. I'm astounded it hasn't come out quicker, as soon as I heard about it I emailed to see if I could get one.”

He continued: “The device develops through learning and needs a great level of control. It took about six weeks to get the initial feel for what it could do and I have now been on a trial for three months.”

PACE prosthetist, Jamie Gillespie, added: “The uniqueness of the Bartlett Tendon provides opportunities that no other prosthetic device can offer.” That includes the amputated leg being able to transmit power to the bike, as well as the cyclist being able to stand up on the pedals while riding, something that isn’t possible with other devices.

Mr Theobald said: “If you are active, especially from cycling, you want to get the edge back you had previously. This device is definitely worth it, it's fantastic.”
The device’s inventor, Brian Bartlett, came to UK to give Mr Theobald support and help train him on using the device while riding.

The cyclist hopes to build up his fitness and get back into competition, saying: “My aim is to get back to where I was when I competed in endurance rides of up to 100 miles. If I can incorporate any kind of charity I will do, but my initial aim is to compete again.”