Saturday, June 4, 2016

A bike for Joshua

Over the years, I have tried quite a few bikes for Joshua.
I've had a number of different tricycles.   I got him a regular bike with training wheels.   He has had two different sorts of balance bikes.  We have even had a more specialised trike on loan.   But nothing so far has been 100% suitable for Joshua.
He had not been able to learn to pedal any of the bikes we had, and the balance bike was not a huge success either.  Although he can move himself along on it, he was always learning off to one side and it was very awkward looking.   He never wanted to do it for long as it was so much effort.
I kept hoping it was just a matter of time for him to learn to pedal one of the options we already had, but years have passed and we had still not made much progress in this area.

I decided it was time to look into getting Joshua something more specialised.   One of the motivating factors in doing so was the fact that the Physio recommended bike riding as being beneficial for Joshua in his post surgery exercises.   And another is the fact that Joshua still has funding money from the Better Start for Children with Disability Scheme.   This money needs to be used by his 7th Birthday or it's gone.  So I asked his Physio about getting him a bike of his own that was properly set up to meet his needs.   She was very quick to organise a trial for us of a bike she thought would be suitable.

Although the bike we trialed was the size up from what Joshua needed, it was very exciting as the potential for him to ride it was very clear, with him doing a few unassisted pedals.

Happy Boy at his Bike Trial

We got the quote made up and I was able to have his Private OT approve the purchase to be made using his Better Start funding.    Then we had to patiently wait for it to arrive!

The big day finally arrived yesterday, and Joshua got his very own bike!   

His bike is a Bodycycle Edge Tricycle in the 16 inch size.   Luckily, it was also available in his favourite colour - Green!    Bodycycle bikes are available with a number of different options to meet various needs.    

Here is the happy boy on his new bike!

Most obviously, it is a 3 wheeled tricycle because Joshua does not have the balance for a 2 wheeler.    I had initially thought that Joshua may need some back support but it turns out that Bodycycle have these great pommel seats (Which we got to trial when we did the trial)  They are nice and wide, so much more supportive for him than a regular saddle seat, which he tends to slide off to one side of.   He won't slide off this seat, and the pommel also helps him to keep his legs apart.  His right leg in particular tends to "internally rotate" which means the knee tends to lean in resulting in positioning that is not so great for trying to ride.  

Pommel Seat

In terms of pedals, Joshua is not able to keep his feet on regular pedals.  Try as he might, he just can't.  So he needs some help with that.  These pedals allow his feet to be strapped on, with the support that goes around his shoe and a heel strap that fastens behind his foot.   This lets him focus on learning to pedal and not on having to keep his feet on the pedals.   Another thing we got we the "pedal leveller".   That is the cord you see that connects the pedals.   That helps to keep the pedals level and they make it a bit easier for him too.  

Support Pedals and Pedal Leveller

There are a number of different handle bar options available but we decided to go with the ones that offer the most adjustability.  They can be adjusted in both height and depth, so they can go up and down or closer to him or further away.  

Adjustable Handle Bars

The other main feature is the Rear Steering Assembly.  That is the pole at the back that allows me not only to push him on the trike, but also to steer it just by moving the pole left or right.    This is essential at the moment until he learns to ride by himself.  

Rear Steering Assembly
It is a great little bike for Joshua, and even with me doing all the pushing, it is still great exercise for his legs.     He is trying to pedal a bit however, and can do a few pedals here and there.    If he is on a downhill slope he can use that to his advantage to try and get himself going, but overall it is a work in progress for Joshua to learn to pedal his bike by himself.   I'm very hopeful though, that now that he has a bike set up with what he needs, that he will be able to work on meeting that skill.      

He is very happy with his green bike!  

This is how he tries to pedal on his own so far:

And with a bit of help from the downward slope of the driveway.  In case you can't tell, in his excited squeal he is saying "Look at me!".  

So glad this little man has the chance to try and ride a bike like other kids!