Companion cycling

When my son was about 5 or 6 I made a vow that I would get him riding a bike. 5 years later and I have not (yet) been able to fulfil that vow.

Pashley Pickle tricycle

Pashley Pickle tricycle

The seeds were sown when friends very generously handed on to us a Pashley Pickle tricycle (see picture). I must have pushed my boy around the park near us for miles on it. But try as I might I couldn’t get him to understand that he needed to peddle in order to propell himself. Instead he preferred to abandon his bike and run after his little sister as she zoomed around on her first bike. Thinking it might be that he didn’t like the tricycle (it did prove a little unstable if you turned the handlebars too far too fast) we bought him a conventional bike with stabilizers, but this was very heavy and, I think, just too much like hard work for him to get going.

So its been sometime since he was last on a bike. Of course he’s outgrown both the tricycle and the conventional bike now. But we were recently in Halfords looking at buying a bike for my wife. While we debated the merits of trail verses mountain, steel verses aluminium (no contest – aluminium is soooo much lighter) J and his sister found a couple of three wheel scooters, brightly coloured and with flashing LED lights. Within a couple of minutes they were both bombing around the store like naturals. Now we’d bought my daughter one of those micro-scooters a few year ago and my son had tried it but was never in any danger of actually propelling it forward. This three -wheeled version however was as stable as a table and he clearly felt confident enough to actually use it. Shame it was really too small or I’d have bought it on the spot. If only I’d found one of these things when he was 3 or 4 I think the confidence and joy he’d have got from the thrill of self-propelled motion would have set him up nicely for a bike.

Recently we heard about Companion Cycles. My wife looked up the website and told me I should check it out. Could this offer a potential way for use to get our son interested in cycling? Whatever, it looks like a fun few hours could be had in Bushy park (near Hampton Court). Companion Cycling is a charity which enables people with special needs, regardless of their age or ability, to cycle on specially adapted cycles. If my son likes this then perhaps we should look at getting another tricycle or some kind of special needs adaption kit (although these are not cheap)for a conventional bike. The trick would seem to be that it has to be stable – I mean really stable – to give him the confidence to use it.

Other resources:
Check out this special needs cycling guide from VeloVision Online

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