It is that time of year where everyone is looking for fun activities to do outdoors. A favorite past time for many, especially kids, is bike riding. For many children with special needs bike riding doesn’t come easily. Having to coordinate steering, pedaling and balancing is often a difficult task for most children to begin with. Children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism spectrum disorder or other similar conditions may never be able to ride a two wheeler on their own.
However an adaptive bike will allow you and your child to enjoy bike riding together. There are a number of really good options out there, the key is finding the solution that works best for you and your child. While Lighthouse Autism Center doesn’t endorse any one particular brand or device over another, here are a few that we thought might be helpful based on reviews. These range in prices go from under a hundred dollars up to $7,000.
Skuut Wooden Balance Bikes
This is a wooden bike for kids and is ideal for helping children learn to steer, maintain balance, and improve coordination and independence. The bike doesn’t have any pedals or training wheel. Parents looking for a bike to help build bike riding skills before trying a traditional two wheeler can find it on Amazon. Prices vary between $60 and $70. Ideal for kids between the ages 2-5.
Buddy Bikes are modified tandem bikes that are designed to accommodate those with special needs. Traditional tandem bikes have the driver sit in front, the Buddy Bike has the driver sit in the back while their bike partner sits on a lower seat in front. These are also available on Amazon in the $2000 range. These bikes are designed for those 5 and older.
There are also trailers that parents or older siblings can use for smaller special needs children or children that are not able to ride on their own. Burley.com offers a wide range of trailers that attach to an adult bike depending on the type of biking you do. They even have one called the Honey Bee 2013 that comes with a stroller kit to turn the trailer into a stroller.
If you have an older or larger child with special needs you can take a look at wicycle.com and their line of special needs trailers, designed with the larger child in mind. The Large Special Needs Bike Trailer can be upgraded to include a jogger/stroller kit and can accommodate individuals that are 3 foot 4 inches to 5 foot 4 inches. They have a larger trailer as well for those that are between 4 feet and 5 foot 10 inches tall. The large one is $750 and the extra-large is $850.
Cycletote.com also offers adaptive special needs biker trailers. Both of the trailers they offer are designed for the older or larger special needs child. Their design provides comfort as well as protection for your child with a low rolling resistance for the cyclist create an ideal bike ride for both.
Looking for something a little different that will offer the cyclists more than just pulling a trailer. The Zigo Leader X2 Carrier Bicycle is reminiscent of the Dutch Cargo Bike or Bakfiets. These bikes allow for the parent to place one or two children in the “childpod” on the front of the bike and you are ready for a ride. This bike can also be easily transformed into a stroller.