We’d like to share a story with you, from one of our participating families. Sometimes, as children grow older, the style of bike that works for them changes. With many years of experience matching children to bikes, You Can Ride 2 can help you find that perfect bike as your child’s needs change – just like Jon’s.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone at YCR2!
My ten-year-old son Jon, who has cerebral palsy and vision impairments, enjoys running and playing basketball, soccer and baseball, but a large part of him feels insecure and anxious while playing sports, as he feels embarrassed about not being able to keep up with other kids and worries about losing his balance and falling. Riding a bike was about the same for him. For the past few years, the YCR2 team loaned Jon bikes with customized balance wheels; it was great that he was able to experience cycling, but because he had to focus so intently on holding on to the handlebars and remain balanced on his seat, riding for him required enormous effort, and he was always quite tense on the bikes. Also, his bikes required push bars which I needed to hold while running behind him in order to stop him or slow him down. This summer, Jon nearly tipped over on his bike, which had 24-inch wheels, larger than the bike he had last year. He became so fearful of sitting up so high on the bike that he refused to ride, saying he’d never get on a bike like that again. We felt very discouraged.
And then it all turned around when lead volunteer physiotherapist Janine and Program Administrator Brian suggested that Jon try a recumbent trike. Janine described the different styles of recumbents, although the few that YCR2 have in their fleet had already been loaned out. Thankfully, Jon’s grandpa bought Jon a Mobo Shift Adult Three-Wheeled Cruiser, which I registered in YCR2’s Adopt-a-Bike program. A push bar was no longer needed; that was a big relief. Brian installed pedals with toe cages, and Interim Head Mechanic John did a fantastic job of ensuring the trike was assembled properly and explaining how to use the shift option.
Seated low to the ground, my son’s more independent, relaxed and confident on his Mobo than he is during any other physical activity. During one of his first rides on his new trike, Jon said, “Oh my gosh, mom – this is sooo relaxing. I can sit back, and my legs have no problem doing all the work. I never want this night to end.”
Then he stopped at a pond, rested for a couple minutes, and said, “Wow, that pond’s really pretty.” Since he’s usually high-strung during physical activity, it’s challenging for him to stop and rest, let alone take in his surroundings – so this was a very special moment.
We explore our neighbourhood for several hours a week: Jon on his Mobo, and his companion dog and I running beside him. Jon’s mastered the fixed gear/free wheel shift; figured out how to reverse and forward himself out of tight spots; is learning the rules of the road; and even becomes absorbed in imaginative play at times while he rides. Amazing.
YCR2 Team: Your extraordinary patience, expertise and extensive knowledge have blessed my son immensely! Can’t thank you enough!