Handle heights are typically way too low for tall people. Examples include those for strollers, wheelchairs, luggage, etc. Sometimes handle extensions can be purchased, like for wheelchairs. But even in these rare instances, the extension length tends to be inadequate for particularly tall people like myself (6′7″). Too low of handle heights force us to hunch over and perhaps contribute to our increased risk of back pain.
The solution I’ve come up with is a universal handle extension for tall people. Someday perhaps it will be commercialized. In the meantime, I’ll show you how to make a DIY version. First though, let’s look at some examples of how it could be used.
One example is a wagon. I was pulling my son in one a while back. The handle was so short that I had to slouch a bit as I walked and even then it was bouncing off my heel every step I took. It was a frustrating experience for sure. So I decided to add a handle extension, which you can see in the second photo below. Now that’s better!
For the second example, let’s hit the gym. I love cycling, especially when I’m on a decent bike for tall people. But at the gym you have to ride the same bikes as everyone else. Mind you, they do tend to be more adjustable–but it’s just not enough for me. So I duplicated my wagon handle extension to make a pair. Voila, I can sit upright! And they come on and off fairly quickly given the wing nuts.
A third example is tool handles (the extension would have to mount a bit differently). Snow shovels in particular are a pain in the back when they’re too short. But a universal handle extension can be used to achieve an ideal length (see snow shovels for tall people for other options). Tool handles of all manners could be extended this way. Note that you likely want to use shorter screws than I did and regular nuts rather than wingnuts to minimize sharp edges.
There are numerous other examples where tall people could benefit from a universal handle extension, like strollers and lawnmowers.
The key component is the clamp. For a commercialized universal handle extension, certainly the clamp would be designed specifically for this purpose. But for the DIY/prototype version, a truss clamp (first image link below) actually makes for a remarkably good substitute.
All you need to do then is to attach a couple clamps to some dowels with some washers and good old deck screws and a cross bar and you’ve got a universal handle extension. There are all kinds of variations on this project. For instance, you could make the attachments at 90 degrees and put on a D-Grip. The ultimate universal handle extension would somehow transform between these variations…
What do you think of this idea? Will you try it? Or would you buy it if it was available? Or maybe you would like to commercialize it 🙂 Please tell in the comments below!
I’m all for adapting/modifying things, but I think the reality is that there aren’t enough instances that would justify carrying something like this around. The ideas are good, but there aren’t enough of us to make these commercially viable. I’m 6’9″ tall and there are lots of places where these ideas could come in handy, but for more permanent mods..
Snow shovel – install a longer handle. Spin bikes – just don’t! (I’m biased). Regular bike- get a trials stem (https://www.webcyclery.com/product/trialtech-race-stem-1969.htm). If you used a wagon or a wheelbarrow enough to need this adaptation, you would just make a permanent modification to it.
I enjoy the topics on the site, and thee is lots of good info here. Thanks for putting this together.
Thanks for writing in Nsclydesdale. I do see your point. And you and I are similar in that we are willing to adapt things. But we are outliers among outliers. Most people just aren’t willing to pick up up some tools and raw materials and get their hands dirty. A universal handle extension could be a good starting point given specific extensions don’t exist in most cases. I agree though that people wouldn’t carry them around everywhere with them. Thanks again for your input and I’m glad you like the site!!
I am going to the hardware store to grab me the parts for one of these. Thanks for sharing. I am going to get the office chair wheels and bar extensions at some point, too. Perhaps we could get a doctor’s order and have the health insurance pay for them! I feel for you guys at 6’9″. Rarely (but it does happen) I come in just right below the maximum they will build something at 6’6″, for instance the car roof. I suppose it depends on your legs vs torso sizes. I generally feel like a bastard bringing any issues with normal sized stuff up, there are so many benefits people ascribe to tallness. So it’s nice to see someone else having some of the same issues.
Awesome, I’m always thrilled to hear when others try some of these adaptations!
Our problems do seem to be of the first world variety, until the extremes of tall stature are reached, that is.
Another item that does not work well for tall people are “Walkers” I have seen many tall elderly people walking stooped over because their walker was way too short
Great nickname 🙂
Some time in the next few months I’m planning on trying out some walkers. I’d be really surprised if I found something suitable for my 6’7″ frame. But perhaps I’ll have some ideas how to adapt one to make it taller…
I would buy this if it were available.
Yah, sure wish someone would get on that!
I would DEFINITELY buy this for my sons and I but there is no way any of us will make it. Will you please do it? Like yesterday?
Sorry, don’t have the time though. It’s not so hard, you can do it!
I found this page after searching the internet for a long time. I just love your solution for the gym bike. I have been taking spin classes for about 10 years but had to give it up recently as my gym got new (smaller) bikes. Are you still using that solution or have you found another solution?
If I was working out on a spin bikes at a gym, then that’s what I’d still be doing. It’s easy to set up. But I’ve been riding my bike on an indoor trainer at home. What I’ve done with that is to flip the road bike handle bar upside down so the drops are way up high. And then I put bull horns on top of that to get me a nice upright position for my tall stature. Also, the open hip angle helps given my hip injury (impingement lead to labral tear and anterior joint degeneration).
Glad you like my solution!
I would buy this. I don’t own any tools nor am I handy in the least. It’s not about willingness to “get my hands dirty”
Omg , I literally thought of the same thing years ago but never followed through with making it. Go for it make I’ll buy it.
Yes I would buy in a minute. Please inform me how I can obtain a device like that.
Wish I could have time to bring it to market, life’s too short!