I try to keep up my extensive list of the different types of adaptive bikes available for kids on my blog, and I’m always looking for an opportunity to check one out in person – usually with the help of our young rider LD to get the most expert kid-sized advice. Recently, Stacy from the blog A Simple Six sent me these photos of an AmTryke adaptive trike that her son was working with in his physical therapy sessions earlier this year. Thank you for the photos! You can read more about her son’s Guillain-Barre Syndrome on her blog or keep up with his progress and that of her biking family on her Facebook page.
AmTrykes are adaptive trikes made by AMBUCS – a “non-profit service organization dedicated mobility independence for people with disabilities” that’s been around since 1922. Since 1994 they have distributed over 15,000 trikes around the world – the majority purchased by volunteer members and donated free of charge to financially-needed children. AMBUCS also donates trikes to “Evaluation Sites” , generally, therapeutic facilities like hospitals, clinics, or schools, to use and evaluate for other riders, and they have training events and ‘bike days’ around the country to train therapists and share information about their bikes and bike therapy.
These trikes are made to be highly customized for children or adults, as well as powered by hands or feet. This particular trike has the adjustable foam-padded loop handlebar, pedal plates with attached pedal-stabilizers (cords), and a bucket seat with straps. These bikes can be configured with a variety of seats and trunk-support systems, pedal types, handlebar types, and assisted-steering devices. They are amazing therapeutic tools for improving or regaining motor skills, developing strength, and gaining confidence in kids who just want to ride like the other kids.
Our family knows first-hand that you cannot begin to measure the positive benefits a bike creates for a special-needs kid. The therapeutic benefits for kids (or adults) working to recover lost skills and motor functions are huge as well. Stacy commented that she was surprised to see that pedaling was (at first) easier than walking for her son, which is something we noticed with LD as well. Because of that, our little guy has been able to build up strength and coordination overall, which has greatly helped all of his physical activity. As I continue to learn more and more about the benefits from the specific movement that biking requires, I’m excited that there are so many different types of bikes out there that offer everyone an opportunity to get on a bike and ride.