When it comes to autism and bike riding we were advised that this would be something that Ethan would struggle with. Getting his balance on a bike would be a struggle. Also, his awareness of danger would go against him. We always believe that we should let Ethan try things as you should never say never.
Autism and Bike Riding
Empowered by seeing Ethan pedal a trike during his first school sports day we brought Ethan a bike for his sixth birthday. Ethan loves his bike but we hadn’t been able to move him off of using his stabilisers.
This meant that we kept his bike riding local and we would walk with him whilst he rode his bike. When his sister got her bike we were in no real hurry to make a change.
With lockdown in place, we thought it would be a good idea to teach Little E how to ride her bike without stabilisers. Something productive to come out of the unknown. Darren started the journey with her by removing one of her stabilisers. Ethan dotes on his sister and was soon asking for ‘his turn’.
It wasn’t something we were expecting but we thought we might as well try. Now that Ethan is ten, the bike that he got for his sixth birthday is too small. We had been discussing what we would do next. If we could find stabilisers big enough for him? Even the possibility of investing in a specially designed trike. Being able to ride a bike without stabilisers would make the next bike an easier purchase.
With both of us there to offer support, off came Ethan’s first stabiliser. The other stabiliser that remained in place Darren lifted up a little. Hoping that as Ethan cycled it would lift up from the floor. Ethan had no issues with this adjustment. The problem was that he was leaning to the side. This meant that the remaining stabiliser was taking all his weight. We were worried that he would lean too far over and fall off his bike.
We decided the best thing to do was to remove both stabilisers and see how Ethan got on. Holding his shoulders we ran alongside him. Ethan being Ethan he was off, no stabilisers required! Ethan can now ride his bike!
Keeping Ethan Safe
We are so proud of Ethan and his love of bike riding has grown. He now goes on bike rides with Darren. Something that he has put in his daily routine.
We do still have to keep Ethan safe. He has no idea of danger and we have to be his eyes and ears when out and about. When they go out on bike rides together Darren is constantly talking to Ethan. Telling him where he should be and making sure he is following inline.
With Little E also learning how to ride her bike without stabilisers we can now go on family bike rides. Something that we are all very excited about.
A new bike was ordered with Ethan’s birthday money but it is still a bit big for him. Riding the new bike will be the riding milestone that we will work on next.