Michael is from Utica NY. Michael is diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy. Michael worked hard and wanted to be a bike rider like everybody else. In the photo in the upper left, Michael is being spotted by Dr. Tim Davis of SUNY at Cortland NY. As with all of our children, we try to work on one skill at a time and as required. We also have a floor assistant working one-on-one with every child. It requires lots of help to put on one of our programs, but the rewards are out of this world! On the upper right you can see Michael practicing his pedaling and braking on what we call a “braking box.” Michael is being coached by our founder, Dr. Richard Klein (wearing blue shirt). When Michael finally achieved riding a two-wheeler, he exclaimed, “I’m getting a blue bike today. Definitely blue!!!” Please note the lower left picture with Michael riding a two-wheeler. Several modifications are helping Michael, or making the bike more user friendly. The handlebars are raised by use of what is called an “extender.” Also, the bike itself is a “youth” or “juvenile” style of frame. The pedals are low to the ground, and the pedal crank lengths are not excessively long. Children like Michael need to be fitted with a bike that is ergonomically correct for them. If we would have put Michael, in contrast, on some run of the mill bargain BMX bike so typically sold — his attempts would have ended in utter failure. Getting and sizing the right bike are critical requirements if you want your child with special needs to be able to ride successfully.

As a sequel, we traveled back to Utica NY to check on Michael. At age 15, a year or so following his learning to ride, Michael had adapted to bike riding like a fish in water. His parents purchased a cool mountain all-terrain bike — a bike that even had hand brakes. Michael now rides in the neighborhood and has a great time, even going over bumps and up and down hills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *