Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Riding a Bike

Riding a bike for kids is just plain fun.

Learning to ride a bike is something taken
for granted and assumed will naturally happen
at a certain age and developmental level in

Learning to ride a bike for some kids who have
Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum or a corpus
callosum disorder is not always an easy skill.

Some kids who have ACC may not struggle with
learning to ride a bike.

Others may have varying degrees of difficulty
learning to master the art of riding a two-wheel

Some kids with ACC may struggle immensely with
riding a bike and even with being able to ride
a regular trike. My son, Matthew, is one of
those kids.

When Matthew was enrolled in public school he
was involved in an adaptive physical education
class. That is where my child learned how to
ride a Rifton adaptive trike.

Rifton Trikes. We love them!!


Because Rifton makes it possible for my child,
Matthew, who has complete Agenesis of the
Corpus Callosum to be able to ride a 'bike'
and have fun outside just like all the other
kids who ride bikes.

Watch Video

Rifton trikes come in three colors

and three sizes:

Rifton-Ranger (small trike)

Rifton-Rustler (medium trike)

Rifton-Wrangler (large trike)

and you have the option of choosing from any of
the three colors for any size trike:



Electric Lime

Rifton offers two sizes of seats:

Rifton also offers two types of handlebars:

Loop handlebars

Conventional handlebars

Rifton trikes come with pedal straps-

(perfect for my child)

In addition you may choose from other accessories
to add to the trike.

Rifton trikes also provide great exercise opportunity
and can help to build muscle strength on top of being
kid friendly fun!

Your child may very well learn to ride a two-wheel
bike...with much practice and help. So keep on
turning those wheels and trying.

Below are some things I found that may be helpful:

"The Undersized Bike Approach

The ideal bike for learning to ride, whether for a child or a
deprived adult, is a bike that is "too small" for efficient
riding. For learning purposes, the rider should be able to
sit on the saddle with both feet flat on the ground and the
knees slightly bent. The bike can then be used as a hobby
horse or scooter, with the feet always ready to stop a fall.
It may even be useful to remove the pedals at first, so
that the feet can swing freely. Ideally, a bike for this
approach should have at least one hand brake, so that the
child can stop while using both feet for balance. A good
place to practice is on a grassy field, perhaps with a slight

Unfortunately, it is often difficult for parents to justify
the expense of a smaller bike that will be outgrown shortly,
so there is a constant temptation to buy a bike that is a bit
too large on the theory that the child will "grow into" it."
~by Sheldon Brown
Teaching Kids to Ride

In addition, there is an article in The Callosal Connection, Spring 2003 edition entitled: "Learning to Ride a Bike - One Step at a Time".
You can find the bike riding story (written by the mom of a child with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum) on Pages 3 and 4 of the link above.

If you have a child who you feel may benefit from
a Rifton adaptive trike, definitely talk with your
child's physical therapist for their professional
opinion and advice.

We got our first Rifton adaptive trike for Matthew
when he was in the beginning of grade school. We
were lucky to have help with a big portion of
funding for the trike and we paid the remaining
balance out-of-pocket.

Matthew is now using his second Rifton trike-one
size bigger (since he outgrew the small size)
and he still enjoys pedaling those pedals and
steering his way around our neighborhood with
Mom or Dad beside him.

Explore funding options for Rifton adaptive trikes
through your medical insurance, developmental
disabilities family support plans or other funding
opportunities that may be available.

I can personally recommend Rifton as I have dealt
with them. I find Rifton to be a wonderful
company that makes excellent adaptive trikes and
they have super customer service too.

I am happy to share with you our own experience
with Rifton trikes so if you have any questions just
E-Mail me.

More information about these adaptive trikes can
be found at Rifton.

Remember to be safe and wear a helmet.

Are you an adult with ACC who would like to comment
about your own experience with bike riding?

Does your child with ACC ride a bike? Do you have
any tips and suggestions for what worked to help
your own child learn to ride a two wheel bike?

Have you found other adaptive trikes or bikes that
work for your child?

Your comments are valuable and help other people.


  1. If I had known about these adaptive bikes 6-7 years ago I would have tried it! My p-ACC daughter is now 12 and is just feeling comfortable riding a bike. She learned to ride a 2-wheeler when she was around 9. It was very difficult for her but we just kept on trying and encouraging her. Once she was able to ride, she just stopped being interested until just recently.

  2. Wow that is one cool bike, no wonder Matthew likes it. I wonder if Joel will be able to do all kinds of things that need the coordination of his right and left side. I wish I understood more of what each side of the brain does. When he sits and starts to fall to the right he compensates by adjusting his left leg and side similarily with his right side. So that seems to me that he has some coordination between the two sides, he also has pretty good coordination passing toys from hand to hand and "attempting" to pick up cheerios and get them to his mouth. Anyway totally off the subject of bike riding, I'll be watching these responses closely to see what might be in store for Joel.

  3. My 13 yr old son rides an adult 3 wheeled tricycle. He loves to ride his bike around the neighborhood. You can find a picture of the bike here. We bought it at Wal-Mart.

    Donna(mom to Trevor, 13 ACC and more) Virginia

  4. Those bikes are so cool. Any idea if there is something as a ride behind? We want to go on family bike rides and want to find a trailer but something very supportive. How did you find that bike?

  5. Hi Jenkins Family,

    We found the Rifton adaptive trike thanks to Matthew's public school
    who used it in their adaptive PE class. After
    he learned to ride the trike at school we purchased one (with funding help) for Matthew to use at home and it's been a big hit with him ever since.

    I can recommend a ride behind bike trailer that we
    have for our child, Matthew. It is made by Wike (out of Canada). They sell special needs strollers/bike trailers/
    joggers. They are excellent! The special needs bike trailers come in two sizes (large and extra large) and fit children all the way up to large kids-small adults. They are very supportive and a smooth ride. They can accommodate two kids. We have the Wike Special Needs Large and it is a bike trailer/stroller and jogger all in one. The extra large size is strictly a bike trailer and does not convert to stroller or jogger.

    Wike Special Needs Trailer-LargeWhat I especially like about the Wike special needs bike trailer is that it has the ability to grow with a small child. If they continue to need to use a bike trailer to join in with family fun bike rides as they get bigger and have outgrown the typical ride behind bike trailers, this special needs bike trailer will do the job beautifully and accommodate their growing size for years.

    I plan to do a blog post on this stroller/bike trailer soon.

    Wike WebsiteThank you very much for taking the time to comment. :)


  6. My son Brian (c-ACC) learned how to ride a two-wheel bike 2 years ago through the Lose the Taining Wheels Camp. It was a great program - I highly recommend it. All the kids at the camp my son went to got onto two-wheelers by the end of the week, and some were quite challenged. If there is one in your area this summer you should check it out!
    Eileen in CT

  7. This is what I did to help my child who has partial ACC learn to pedal. First, I had her lay on her back with her brother and sister. Then I helped her by moving her legs in the bicycle exercise motion. I did this first before trying it on her bike to get the motion and so she could understand. She also was able to watch her brother and sister do it as well since she needs a visual to understand some concepts. We did this every day for about 5 minutes over the winter/early spring.

    Then when she was able to do the exercise on her own for the most part, we put her on her bike. Then myself or her brother/sister would take her feet to move them while on the pedals, so she could feel how it went. It took about a month after that for her to start pedaling a little, it was hard for her to get started. By the end of last summer, she was pedaling by herself about 80% of the time and now she is all over her tricycle. She has a hard time pedaling her big girl bike I think more because it is different style and she sits different.

    Her sister told her it is just like marching with your feet when you are on a big girl bike, one foot goes down, with the pedal and then the other goes up, then repeat it. Pushing down on the pedal is like going forward in marching. It helped her some especially when her sister showed her visually.

    Also whichever foot your child steps out on first should be the first foot he/she uses to start pedaling.

    Hope these ideas help.

  8. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some instructions we received from my daughter's OT about learning to ride a bike. I spent weeks trying all sorts of ways I had found on the Internet of how to teach a kid to ride a two wheeled bike. I did the exhaustive thing where you run along side holding the seat and letting did not work. We did the slight incline on a grass hill so if she spilled no cuts or scraps. This also did not work.

    We spoke to her OT about it and she said it was simple......remove the peddles and lower the seat. So, we did. She simply sits on the seat and runs while on the bike and little by little lifting her feet and coasting, sort of like a scooter. If she starts to go down she simply puts her feet down. Once she
    can coast for a good 30 or 40 feet without putting her feet down we put the peddles back on and she started peddling and she was off. No falls, no exhausted father running along side in a sweaty mess. Just her, her bike and the wonderful look on her face. a truly magical moment for us both.

    I recently did it with her little sister and had the exact same results.

    One important thing is make sure the bike has a hand brake and not a foot brake. It is very difficult to use the foot brake without any peddles on it!


I am very interested in reading your comments and
look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.