Look Ma, No Hands!
December 22, 2006 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Fixing a Flat Tire without Hands
A series of photos of a man, who cannot use his hands, patching, repairing and reseating a bicycle inner tube. Why? Apparently its his job.
Somehow my little problems don't seem so insurmountable anymore.
posted by fenriq (27 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this on someone's blog earlier... And I agree with you... I feel humbled by it... It's amazing.
posted by amyms at 10:54 PM on December 22, 2006

**sniff** that little fella's got the heart of a champion!
posted by jonson at 10:55 PM on December 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

That's incredible.

I wonder how many bicyclers with a flat go a little (a lot?) further out of their way to get their tires fixed by him?
posted by porpoise at 11:27 PM on December 22, 2006

when i was in china, i noticed such an inundation of disabled people displaying themselves as freakshows for the pity (and in turn money) of comparatively wealthy people, that they were mostly shooed off or ignored by the majority.... so, probably not as many as you'd think porpoise; you have to remember, in your country, such a decadently freakish affair is inspiring novelty, but in the third world, it's business as usual.
posted by wumpus at 11:40 PM on December 22, 2006

opposable thumbs.. pah
posted by edgeways at 11:49 PM on December 22, 2006

Fixing a flat tire without hands? I don't even think I've ever seen ANY type of tire WITH hands.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:51 PM on December 22, 2006

Not only "no hands," but the poor guy's right ankle and foot appear seriously deformed, too. And, probably as a result of that, his right calf appears withered in some photographs. I would imagine it is nearly impossible for the poor guy to walk, too.

And yet, he's using tools, including a hammer and a file (to rough the patch area) and looks to be doing the job of inserting the tube back in the bicycle tire with considerable dexterity. It's a tribute to human determination and ingenuity, and the desire to buy smokes.
posted by paulsc at 12:04 AM on December 23, 2006

I remember a while back someone posted a link to a guy with no arms, playing guitar with his feet. Some snarky comment about his musicianship popped up. I suspect with this one, though, we're not gonna see any responses like that. After all, the tire was ostensibly fixed. Very little snark angle here to work with.

I'm guessing maybe this is Vietnam, and our amazing tire repair guy might be an Agent Orange baby? Just a guess.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:17 AM on December 23, 2006

Talk about adapting to one's situation... that's amazing.
posted by spiderskull at 12:31 AM on December 23, 2006

I wonder if - once you learned how - seating the bead on the tire with one's feet is easier than using your fingers and thumbs. Jam those big toes right in there. Everything else not so much and then some.

Personally, I've used my feet plenty of times trying to seat a stubborn tire. Usually with motions resembling vigorous kicking.
posted by loquacious at 12:58 AM on December 23, 2006

flapjax - he's in China: It says in Chinese at the bottom 'picture posted at pop.pcpop.com'. The post there says he's a Mr Chen and he was working outside the hospital in Zhanjiang (湛江), which is in Guangdong (though it says he shifts his pitch). He was apparently born disabled, and started learning how to fix bikes in his early teens.
posted by Abiezer at 12:58 AM on December 23, 2006

Hey wumpus, relax; you're both in British Columbia.
posted by redteam at 2:30 AM on December 23, 2006

Amazing. I'd love to see a video of that.
posted by zardoz at 2:47 AM on December 23, 2006

I was gonna go on about the skillful development of feet, absent hands, having reading paulsc's post, but he's right.

I don't think this guy can walk on that right leg. All sorts of mis-shapen clubs substitute for limbs, but the lack of muscle indicates it's feeble. He doesn't even walk.

He's tougher than teflon.
posted by toma at 2:58 AM on December 23, 2006

Hey, thanks Abiezer! Nice detective work.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:10 AM on December 23, 2006

Not much detective work in reading a URL :D

It's quite an interesting post on a couple of levels. Pace wumpus, he says he spots Mr Chen because there's an admiring crowd gathered round him watching in amazement. The photographer says he took the pictures to send to his 'precious' son, as the younger generation are spoiled and need to now what struggling for a living is really all about.
Then the kicker is he says Mr Chen is working to support his aged mother - he's a carer!
posted by Abiezer at 3:28 AM on December 23, 2006

Not much detective work in reading a URL

Maybe not for summa you young whippersnappers, but for those of us whose eyes are starting to go, those itty-bitty URLs are damn near impossible to make out ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:42 AM on December 23, 2006

Oh, and also, though I hate to admit it, my Chinese, is, you know, a little rusty...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:44 AM on December 23, 2006

A poignant visual story. Dang, I can't patch or fix a bicycle tire with two hands. Yes, it must be so hard for this man, surviving life without hands, making his living, supporting his mother and unable to walk. Maybe as an on-the-street worker, one way he is able to manage his physical disability psychologically is to be admired for his 'handiwork'? Yes, it's humbling and inspiring. And he's a caregiver. wow.

Other armless wonders, Carl Unthan, a violinist. Armless karate. A video of armless Simona Atzori, ballet dancer, putting on her makeup with her feet (her website). The freakshow armless.
posted by nickyskye at 5:14 AM on December 23, 2006

An afterthought: The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.
posted by nickyskye at 5:53 AM on December 23, 2006

A poignant reminder this holiday season of what we all take for granted, and how well off we all are.

Look at that freak go!
posted by cillit bang at 6:17 AM on December 23, 2006

I hope his foot is like that "naturally" and hasn't become that way from 40 years of fixing bike tires.
posted by dobbs at 6:39 AM on December 23, 2006

Reminds me of Manhattan's famous one-legged bike messenger. He used no prosthetic, just pedaled around with a toe clip on his one foot. Remarkable.
posted by scratch at 7:23 AM on December 23, 2006

Bah. Let's see him ride that bike.

[ducks quickly]
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:36 AM on December 23, 2006

"Bah. Let's see him ride that bike."

Look, Ma! No hands!

I'd like a window seat on my journey to Hell, please.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:27 PM on December 23, 2006

So I was sitting at a stop light when I saw this guy mowing a lawn. The thing is... he had no arms.
posted by Huplescat at 3:30 PM on December 23, 2006

one armed boxer
posted by the cuban at 7:20 AM on December 24, 2006

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