Posted on Leave a comment

Cycling with disabled children

Children who have a disability that affects their mobility can find it difficult to be included in family and friends’ activities. We don’t want any child with special needs to miss out on the opportunity of getting outside and enjoying the freedom of having wind in their hair! Cycling offers a fun and effective way for children of all abilities to enjoy new levels of independence, individual challenge and social contact. Through gentle and controlled limb and joint exercises it teaches coordination and rhythm, develops body and environmental awareness and promotes strength, stamina and general health. And just the fact that they can do the same activity as everyone else is so important for them to feel included and involved.

We all remember our first bike and falling off!

Having your own bike or “wheels” is a rite of passage that sets you on the path to independence. The freedom and thrill to travel in a direction of your own choosing at your own speed…….whether it’s round your garden, a park or out with friends is second to none! Children with special needs can’t always get on their own bike. but they can still have that special feeling of freedom using a trailer, carrier or tag-a-long.

Working out how to cycle with your child when they’re not able to pedal a bicycle by themselves can sometimes seem an overwhelming task. Our experts at Freedom for Kids are here to help families understand the different options available, and if required, help you to seek charity funding where financial assistance is required.

Freedom for Kids has Special Needs Bikes and Child Bike trailers suitable for disabled children allow your whole family to explore trails, go mountain biking, cycling together in the countryside or around town. Disabled children no longer have to miss out on the great outdoors with our fantastic selection of bicycle trailers for children from 1-9 years old.

When children are babies and toddlers, there are plenty of choices, for travelling up front or in the rear in a trailer. However, as children get older and the majority move onto riding their own bikes, for children with disabilities or other special needs, it’s not always possible to move onto a two-wheeled pedal bike, so what are the options as your child gets older and heavier? Here’s a few ideas of the ways you can continue to cycle as a family as your child gets older.

Cargo Bikes

Cargo bikes are another good way of transporting children of all ages. For younger children, the new super-cool Joggster Velo combines all the advantages of our popular Joggster Pushchairs with the flexibility of a bicycle trailer and has enough space for two! Ideal for our younger passengers up to 5 years old, it can accommodate twins, siblings or one child and storage room. There are even options for a parent-facing double carrycot and a baby seat. Perfect for sporty families who love the great outdoors, you can push, jog or bike your way around with your little ones in tow!

Whilst child seats and cargo bikes are a great option and are a very popular way for parents to transport their younger children, they have the disadvantage that the child is not partaking in the cycling themselves – they are merely a passenger. Some kids are happy with that, but others will want to get involved.  So, what are the options available if your child can’t make the transition to a two-wheeled pedal bike?

Trailer Bike or Tagalong for children with special needs

A trailer bike, also known as a tag-a-long may be a good option for your child/children.  They have the freedom of pedaling whilst being pulled along behind an adult bike, and can coast along when they get tired. There are a number of different options available, although most tend to just have a regular bike seat.

If your child needs more support, it’s worth looking at the two different models of the Weehoo bike trailers, which are suitable for children who can hold on but who may or may not want or be able to pedal. There are options for one or two children and cargo carriers (large panniers) for carrying everything you need on your trip out.   Foot straps on the pedals and the adjustable 3-point harness with chest buckle help keep the child secure during the ride.  Hand grips give children something to hold on to and the sprocket and chain are enclosed to keep little fingers grease free and away from harm. There is also a Weehoo Two available if you need to transport twins or two children by bike. Canopy and rain cover accessories are sold separately.

Trailer Trike

With a trailer bike or tagalong there is only a single wheel touching the ground. This means they may feel rather wobbly, especially at speed. This can prove problematic for some children, plus as mentioned additional assistance may be needed with the mounting and dismounting process.  An alternative is a trailer trike, which has two wheels to give a good level of stability for the child being towed, and won’t tip over when you come to a halt.

Independent Bike or Trike

If using an independent bike or trike, for safety reasons, ensure you are aware of your child’s road sense and sense of danger, visual, perceptual and hearing skills and spatial awareness. Spatial awareness is a complex mental skill which allows children to understand their own location and the location of objects in relation to their bodies. In understanding this children then come to learn concepts such as direction, distance and location.

Funding Advice about Bicycles and Tricycles for children

Specialised bikes and trikes may be more expensive than standard cycles and are not funded by local authorities. We can help you find charitable funding for your child and if you’re buying a specialised bike or trike, they will be exempt from VAT. Not all our bike trailers are classed as mobility equipment and some will have VAT applied.

If you require a quote to apply for funding through a Sports Charity or one of the general disabled children’s charities, please contact us and we will be more than happy to prepare a quotation for you. If you would like to talk to us about your family needs, and get expert advice and guidance, please call us and we can talk you through the options we offer and the charity funding process. Please Call Our Helpline: 01670 458624 Today