Four years ago when I first asked the question, “Could Lilly ride a bike?” I had no idea the journey we would take with the You Can Ride 2 Program. If you do not know what the You Can Ride 2 Program is it is a program in Edmonton, Alberta that loans out adaptive bikes to families of children with disabilities who live in a two hour radius of Edmonton. A few weeks ago was Return A Bike Day and for my children that is a very sad day because they love the bike Lilly gets. As we drove away from the centre A-man cried “the bike Momma, the bike.”
When I first asked that question the purpose behind it was that I wanted a summer activity that Lilly could do with her soon to be sibling. After trying out bikes at our local rehabilitation hospital, (this was way back when the You Can Ride 2 Program was in its baby stage) we found out the price tag for the bike Lilly would need was $4000. Trust me when I say when your expecting a child not once does the thought of buying a bike with the price tag 4000 cross your mind. That’s why when we bought A-man his bike we didn’t flinch at it’s price.
The thing is finding funding for an adaptive bike can be a hurdle. Then there is the fact that your child can easily out grow that bike. In the three years that we have taken part in the Bike Loan Program Lilly has had three different sizes of bikes. Can you imagine the cost? That would be 12, 0000 dollars. Yikes! (Yes, you can cringe with me)
Over the years the goals of Lilly ridding has changed. Originally it was to learn to ride. The next year it was to strengthen her body for orthopaedic surgery. This year it was supposed to strengthen her body after surgery but a PICU stay derailed us. We also where having troubles with the model we had but we have since learned that Lilly’s left leg is 2 cm shorter then the right leg, (which was diagnosed this past month.) In the future when we get a bike we will know have to make sure it works with her built up shoes or build up the pedals to accommodate the shorter leg.
Having a shorter leg throws of the whole motion of pedalling which can make things difficult with balance.
It’s little things like built up peddles, back rest, adaptive handle bars, balance bars, and training wheels that can make ridding a bike possible for children with additional needs. These adaptive bikes make cherished childhood memories that will be treasured for the rest of their lives. For us being able to ride bikes together brings joy to both my children and they can not wait until the 2018 season of the You Can Ride 2 Season!