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Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike riding with Autism

Tessa learned to ride her bike without training wheels last fall.  She has been wanting to go bike riding with both Craig and I for ages.  Now that the warm weather has come and both Mommy and Daddy have new bikes, the poor girl is so excited to go.

Amanda, on the other hand, cannot ride a bike unassisted.  Even with training wheels.  She is distracted by the world.  The multiple sensory inputs of the wind in her face, sun in her eyes, having to pedal the bike, steer the bike all while trying to pay attention to where she is going and the world around her.

We toyed with a few ideas.  One was a tricycle but finding a tricycle in her size is difficult without spending a great deal of money.  The adaptive tricycles are extremely cost-prohibitive.

I scoured and came across this:

Bike USA Junior Stabilizer Wheel Kit
Those wheels attach to a 20'' BMX Bike Frame.  I started doing research on the type of bike.  Went to lots of bike stores looking at bikes to see which ones could have this attached and still be a pretty princess bike for our Ms Panda.  Asked many associates on their thoughts.  Showed it to Amanda to get her opinion.  I thought it was a great option.

Last Saturday, we took turns trying Amanda on Tessa's old bike with the regular training wheels.  She was so anxious and scared.  We both were cramped and sore from holding onto the bike, hunched over.  Reminding her to pedal.  Trying to get her to steer.  Watching her as she watched her shadow on the ground.  I realized that this was going to be too much for her right now.

But we are not ready to leave her behind.  And her sister needs to bike with both parents too.  And she is too big to ride in those trailer attachments or seats.

So back to research mode.  And I found this:

Tandem Bike Attachment
 The attachment will fit both Craig's mountain bike and my hybrid.  She has the option of either pedalling or not.   She just needs to sit and hold on.  This way, she can join us biking and slowly gain her confidence and learn to deal with all the sensory inputs of bike riding.

I bought it last night and paid 9.00 to have it shipped for Saturday delivery.  Will post pictures and let you know how it worked out.

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