The Multiple Uses of an Adaptive Bike

I’ve written before in this blog about our young adaptive rider and the freedom and independence having his own modified bike has given him. When he’s on a bike, he’s not the kid with Cerebral Palsy or the little kid who wears braces, but just another kid on a bike.  It’s been a great summer watching him improve his bike skills and as we take rides around the city. Having his own bike has helped in other ways too.

While Little Ding is fairly mobile and able to walk completely on his own,  a long day of walking or longish distances — distances that would be a snap for most kids his age – are beyond him. The braces start to make his feet really hurt (and given his high pain threshold that’s saying a lot) and he gets worn out.  What we’ve discovered though,  is that  he can cover those same distances in less time on his bike, and with less pressure on his feet.  Since he is still young enough to ride on the sidewalk and not zip too far away from us,  we rely on his bike when we would otherwise be relegated to using a wheelchair or to skip some activity.  Case in point would be the annual Popcorn Parade held every year the weekend after Labor Day, in Valparaiso,  Indiana as part of their Popcorn Festival.  I went to school at the university in town, and used to check out the parade every fall.

Valparaiso Popcorn Parade 2010 - the popcorn kids

Valparaiso Popcorn Parade 2010 - the popcorn kids

Valparaiso is only a short drive from Chicago – less than an hour from downtown.   So we loaded up Little Ding’s bike and drove on over to Valpo. It’s a small town, so it’s not as if there was going to be a big traffic issue with most of the downtown streets blocked off, but still, we knew we probably would have to park a few blocks away from the parade route.  We found a spot a few blocks away , parked, and unloaded Little Ding’s bike.   Having his bike meant we could park wherever we wanted, walk around and look at some of the historic homes, and then find a good spot to watch the parade, all with Little Ding right there with us, looking like just another kid on a bike.  We watched the parade, and then walked around a bit to find some hot dogs and Elephant Ears  your basic sweetened fried dough concoction.  Eventually  we made our way back to our car with Little Ding riding ahead of us.

Riding off in the Rain

This may or may not continue to work quite as well as he gets older.  But for now it’s a great way to keep our family out and moving, and allow Little Ding as much freedom and mobility as possible.

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