Buddy Bike for Special Needs Cycling
The Buddy Bike is an adaptive bicycle that provides adaptive outdoor recreation, therapeutic activity and educational opportunities to riders with cognitive or physical disabilities who may not be able to ride a bicycle safely on their own or who do not have the strength to pedal a bike alone. The Buddy Bike is a tandem bicycle (bicycle for two) that places the smaller rider in the front seat while the rear rider controls the steering. Learn more at www.buddybike.com
Riding the Buddy Bike can be empowering for riders with special needs. Therapists at the National Lekotek Center who tested and rated the Buddy Bike report that riding the same bike as the caregiver or teacher lessens the skills and the number of steps necessary to successfully ride a bike. The front rider has their own handlebars to feel like they are steering without actually having control of the bike and they can contribute to pedaling and propelling the bicycle forward. The rider seated in the front has an unobstructed view for maximum visual stimulation and tactile stimulation in the form of wind on his/her face. The seats are close enough for easy communication between the riders making it easier to keep the person with a disability on task without lagging behind, turning a different way or stopping on their own. Many of our customers state that their children are more alert and responsive after riding their Buddy Bike and that they feel that they fit in by being able to do what other kids do. A rider with a autism, down syndrome, sight impairment or other disabilities is able to keep up with family and friends when riding in a group so they are no longer left behind.
Riders must be able to sit upright on a standard bicycle seat to ride the Buddy Bike. Riders with severe physical disabilities may not be able to ride the Buddy Bike. Fold-out foot pegs are available for smaller riders to keep their feet out of the way of moving pedals (sold separately). The Buddy Bike can support up to 380 pounds; making it the ultimate family bike that can be enjoyed by riders of all ages and abilities.
Children with Autism, Down Syndrome, Aspergers, Fragile X, blind / sight impaired, hearing impaired and children with cognitive disabilities. Recent studies are showing that riding a bicycle can reduce tremors in patients with Parkinson's Disease.
Potential therapeutic benefits of riding the Buddy Bike
Per the National Lekotek Center, the therapeutic benefits for individuals with special needs who ride the Buddy Bike may include:
• Provides physical activity which directly combats obesity.
• Strengthens core muscles for stability.
• Improves balance and exercises reciprocal leg movements.
• Improves motor planning and gross motor skills.
• Provides visual and tactile stimulation.
• May improve full body sensory awareness.
• Helps improve attention and assists children in focusing on cognitive tasks presented after by providing riders with proprioceptive input
The Buddy Bike as a transitional tool
The Buddy Bike allows a stoker (front rider) with little or no cycling skills to ride a bicycle. The Buddy Bike is an excellent tool for safely teaching beginner cyclists of all ages and it has helped several children transition to riding their own 2-wheel bicycles.
One father had this to say about their experience with the Buddy Bike:
"...never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that Kyle would learn to ride a two-wheeled bike. He's made us real proud and it just goes to show that children with autism can learn just like everyone else you just have to find the people that know how to teach them..."
Kruno - Ontario, Canada
For more information about the Buddy Bike visit www.buddybike.com.
How Cycling Helps Children with Autism
by Siegfried Mortkowitz, 4/11/19