As you probably know, when I started this blog, I was researching adaptive bike options for the youngest rider in our family – LD, aka “Little Ding”. We discovered the folks at the The Bike Rack in St. Charles IL, who run Creative Mobility -they specialize in providing the right equipment needs for adaptive cyclists. After research, and talking with their experts, we settled on a new black and orange Trek kids bike, with adaptive elements (saddle, pedals, Fatwheels, etc). You can read more about that bike here. It’s worked out well.
This spring though, LD took off on a growth spurt and was getting so tall that he was riding high on his bike making him wobbly and not feeling so secure when he was riding. So Mr. Ding did more research, looked at a couple of places that had conversion kits for sale, and settled on the folks at Cycles US – a Southern California-based business, that sells a very unique line of custom bike parts and accessories for cruiser, chopper, and custom bikes. They have a great selection of cool and well-made kits to convert any bike to a trike. We ordered a trike conversion kit, a set of rear wheels and tires, as well as a new handbrake for the front wheel, and had it all shipped to our neighborhood bike shop, Comrade Cycles. We dropped off LD’s bike with them, and they called us when they were finished assembling it all and deemed fit to ride. They told us that they did a few test rides too – I would have liked to have seen that!
Basically, we switched out the FatWheel-style training wheels and brackets for a full-on kick-ass trike. The bike still maintains these adaptive elements:
- slightly larger seat
- exercise-bike pedals that are weighted to stay flat and have stiff rubber foot straps that he can slide his feet into unassisted
- hand-brake with parking brake on the front wheel to help steady the bike when mounting or dismounting
I don’t even think about it as much of an “adaptive'” bike anymore because I’m so used to it and because whenever we show up somewhere with it, any kids around who have never seen it before, immediately ask to take it for a ride.
He still gets on the bike by engaging the parking brake, and stepping up over the rear – now stepping on the rear axel instead of the brackets. LD does his dismount by turning to one side and sliding off as in this photo. Because of his Cerebral Palsy and the leg braces he wears, he can’t swing his leg up over the bike, so from the beginning we had to get a bike that had suitable work-arounds.
As soon as he got on his upgraded bike there was no stopping him. We took it on vacation by tying it down to the roof of our car no less – and he took full advantage of having the opportunity to ride on a long road with little traffic. He was just another kid on a bike – which has been an amazing accomplishment.
If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of adaptive bikes for kids that are out there, check out my Adaptive Bikes resource page, along with the related links below.