A couple of years ago we tried my son on an adaptive bike and it was a disaster.
He really did not like it and we were trying so hard to force him to love it. (You can read about that first experience here).
At that time he was also to small for the smallest size bike, and being a tad overzealous, we were still trying to find a way to get it to work for him.
Finally we came to the realization we just needed to stop, it wasn’t working for him, and we needed to give that dream up, for the time being.
Well, at the end of summer 2015, on a whim, we decided to try again. He had grown a few inches, and thanks to horse therapy, he had become a little more adventurous.
I am so glad we tried it again because that time he loved it!
How He Got His Adaptive Bike
We went through our local Ambucs chapter (click here and enter your zip code to find your local chapter) and they helped us to get him a bike.
Okay, well, actually, I need to rephrase that. What ended up happening was through them, our son was given a bike.
At the particular bike fitting day (more on that below) that we happened to attend on a whim, mind you, our local chapter had raised enough donations to provide a bike to everyone who had been fitted for a bike that day.
And the timing of it proved to be invaluable for us.
When the chapter representative called and asked us if we were interested in ordering a bike, I was prepared to tell her no.
We wanted one, but we had just found out our son needed open heart surgery and we couldn’t invest the time in fundraising right then.
That’s when she let me know about having enough donations to cover everyone’s bike and if we wanted one for our son, it was his.
Definitely one of the many definitive God moments I can pinpoint that we’ve had along this journey.
(One of our son’s (and ours) very very good friends gave him the bell you see him ringing in this picture. It’s perfect because he is able to ring it and it works on his fine motor skills while riding. He rings it when we’ve stopped and he wants to keep going and also as a signal he wants to go faster. (The bell can be found here*).)
How His Bike Came At The Right Time
My son walks daily in his walker. He loves walking and it provides so many benefits for him, (including helping him, and therefore us, get a better night’s sleep!). However after his surgery he couldn’t go in his walker for two months!
We didn’t know what we were going to do about getting him his exercise.
And then along came the gift of his adaptive bike.
We picked up his bike exactly two weeks before he had open heart surgery, just enough time for him to get used to riding it prior to his surgery and to keep him entertained while he was out of school and therapy those two weeks in preparation for surgery.
While he had to wait two months to get back in his walker, he was able to start riding his bike 4 weeks after surgery, just about the time he was itching to get active again.
Such perfect timing for him to get this bike, in so many ways.
Bike riding became his main source of exercise as he recovered. And it continues to be one of his favorite, most requested activities!
A couple of months ago he had the opportunity to ride with our Ambucs chapter in a local Grand Prix! It was such a fun family activity. There were about 15 or so other kids he rode with, all on adaptive bikes!
Here he is waiting to start racing.
They all got medals afterwards, even sister snagged herself one 🙂
Bike Fitting Day
So about the bike fitting day, the great thing about getting in contact with your local Ambucs chapter is that this is something that they most likely offer. That is how my son was able to try out the bikes and we could figure out what was the best one for him.
When we went to the bike fitting day there were all types and sizes of adaptive bikes. My son has one of the smallest sizes but they had bikes all the way up to adult sized to try.
I loved that there was such a wide range of bikes to try, ranging from bikes propelled by foot pedals to hand bikes and a combination of both.
We got a foot pedal bike that has a bar on the back so we can push and steer our son while he rides.
I am really glad we decided to try bike riding again with our son after our first rather disastrous time.
I’m learning with kids sometimes it is the right activity, but just not yet. If it’s something we know has the potential to be really good but it’s not working right then, we’re learning to wait a bit and try again.
For bike riding in particular, I’m so glad we waited when we did and then tried again when we did!
Find Your Local Ambucs Chapter and Get Involved
If you have a child (or know of a child) who would benefit from an adaptive bike, or you want to donate and help a child get their very own bike, click here to find your local Ambucs chapter.
Let’s Talk: Have you ever had an experience where your child really disliked something only to love it a few years later? Have you benefited from the kindness and generosity of others? I’d love to hear your stories too!
***To whoever it was who donated for our son and so many other kids bikes that day, THANK YOU! We are forever grateful, our son’s adaptive bike has impacted him in so many incredible ways and we wouldn’t have been able to get him one without your help.***
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