Friday, 31 May 2013

A Bicycle Built for... Owen!

You may remember this post from last summer, where I had to eat my words.

Last year, I said that "Balance is such a challenge that Owen may never graduate from a tricycle."

And true to form, he was on training wheels in a matter of weeks.

He's getting so much bigger.  And much more aware that he has some special needs, and that his body doesn't always cooperate and allow him to develop as quickly as his peers.

And he looks at his big brother whizzing up and down the street on his two wheeler with longing in his eyes.

That's kind of tough to see.  I know how badly he wants to be like everybody else, but also understand that it may take a bit longer to coordinate all the things required to ride without training wheels.

My untrained eye tells me that he needs better trunk control- I think I mean *stability.  But he doesn't really develop it with the training wheels on the bike- they do that for him. And he definitely needs help with coordinating holding the bike up while pedaling, as well as coordinating looking up, pedaling and remaining aware of everything all at the same time.  If you think about all of the things that need to happen to ride a bike it can be overwhelming to any child, but especially to those that have developmental difficulties.

I'm not one to sit on my butt and wait for everything to fall together magically.  Oh, sure, it does happen now and again, but my job is to help my kids learn to fly.  I take it quite seriously.

Enter the DIY Balance Bike.

Oh how I've wanted to buy a balance bike for him!  But they are kind of pricey.  And they are all pretty little- he's 7 now, and while he is very skinny he is also pretty tall.  Most of the balance bikes that I've seen have been for the 3 to 5 age range, which are way to short for him.  

So we decided to sacrifice his current bike with training wheels.  We removed the pedals, chain and all of the other, um, parts that you would normally find in that area of bike. And we lowered the seat slightly so that his  feet would be flat on the ground while seated.

I am officially kicking myself for not doing this at least a year ago. 

You have no idea WHAT A BIG DEAL it has been for him to have a TWO WHEELER.  Last night as HE whizzed up and down and around the driveway, he could be heard shouting to the UPS man:

Is it working?  Heck YA!  So much more challenging that training wheels, a boost of confidence at having a bike that looks much more age appropriate and he has to WORK way more skills to get it moving!  Daisy can't wait until I make her one!

My suggestion for anyone not sure about the benefits of a balance bike- just do it.  Scout out a second hand bike at a charity store or yard sale.  Remove that pedals. Throw away the training wheels. 

And watch them fly! Just make sure they wear a helmet :)

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