Kids love to ride bikes. When my daughter was younger, we were able to include her in bike riding by pushing her around on a tricycle or finding ways to modify traditional bikes so that she could sit independently. But once she got older and heavier, she could no longer rely on us to help her bike with her siblings and friends. That’s when we decided to buy a wheelchair bike.
Having a wheelchair bike opened up a whole new world of outdoor adventure for my daughter. There were many benefits to having her own bike, but here are the top three ways it transformed her play.
1. It gives the child independence. Instead of relying on Mom, Dad, or a sibling to push her along, she was able to ride her bike independently. Wheelchair bikes are handcycles for children. Instead of using your legs, you use your arms to peddle. In the past, we had to help my daughter play on her bike outside. Now she can do that on her own.
My daughter also learned to transfer into her wheelchair bike on her own. She does not need assistance getting from her wheelchair to her bike. This allows her to choose when she wants to ride. She does not have to wait on an adult to help her get seated.
Having the power to choose and be independent is good for you mentally. It not only encourages you, but it teaches you to take responsibility for the outcome of your own choices, whether good or bad.
2. A wheelchair bike provides exercise. People who use wheelchairs often find it challenging to get enough exercise. Many traditional methods of exercise are not available to them. However, a wheelchair bike takes a lot of energy and effort to ride for any sustained amount of time. Wheelchair bikes strengthen your arms. This strengthening can make it easier to propel yourself in your everyday wheelchair as well.
Also, getting out of the house and down the street is exciting. The fact that biking is such an enjoyable activity means that she will exercise even more without realizing it. Planned exercises can be boring, but when you are riding around and having adventures, you don’t even notice how long you’ve been working out.
3. It allows the child to socialize with other kids. In the past, when other kids would ride their bikes, my daughter would try to keep up with them in her wheelchair. That did not work very well because she couldn’t go as fast as the other kids. Also, her everyday wheelchair wasn’t stable enough to go up and down hills without being a safety risk.
Wheelchair bikes are designed for going fast, and they are designed for stability. Now she can go out with her siblings and peers and participate in neighborhood bike rides. With a little practice, she began riding just as fast as everyone else. And the body of the wheelchair bike is made so that riding up and down the hills in our neighborhood is no problem.
Is A Wheelchair Bike Right For My Child?
You should always consult your child’s therapist before deciding to purchase a wheelchair bike. The therapist can tell you what level of ability your child has and what activity level would be appropriate for them. However, there are different types of wheelchair bikes, and it is likely that you will find one that suits your needs.
If you live near an area where your child could get out and ride, a wheelchair bike is an excellent option for your child’s recreation. To see an example of a child’s wheelchair bike, you can check out this page on handcycles for children, by Invacare Top End. If you have questions, you can submit a request right from the page, and a representative will help you.
Author: Annie Beth Donahue is a professional writer with a health and disability focus.