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Learning to ride a bike at 10

(18 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Sat 12-Jan-13 21:22:42

DS has tried and failed many times to learn to ride a bike. We have left it for a year or so but he is desperate to try again as there is a bike-ability course in Feb at school. Very tall order!

Any ideas how you can teach a child with AS and Hypermobility to ride at this age and suggestions for bikes.

frizzcat Sat 12-Jan-13 21:41:30

I''ve no experience of hyper mobility but I know this work with other children I know.
If he can sit on the bike comfortably and his feet touch the ground - take the pedals off. Have him push himself along with his feet and intermittently lift his feet and balance while the bike is moving - it means he can just concentrate on balance and steering. Once he's improved with that put the pedals back on. Kind of breaks it down iyswim.
Also for my ds I found borrowing a smaller bike also helped as it was lighter and once he got moving he was able to balance better - my ds dx ASD

moosemama Sat 12-Jan-13 21:54:46

We have exactly the same problem, for the same reason.

Ds can do stabilisers, but can't steer or balance because of hypotonia, which is particularly bad in his core and a hypermobile upper body.

He doesn't even have a bike that fits him anymore, because it was such a battle.

I've asked at school and his teachers said there are always a few who either can't or don't want to do the bikeability thing and they just put them in with the other class in their year while their own class do it (of course ds won't cope with that either, but that's another bridge to cross when we come to it).

I have looked at some videos on youtube that use the method frizzcat recommends in the past and thought we might have a go at that next. Not sure when though - especially as we have to buy him a blooming bike first. Fortunately we don't have the bikeability course until the summer term.

Might be worth doing a quick mn search as well, as there was a long thread about teaching kids to ride bikes last year that had some really good links on it. A lot of people seem to recommend frizzcat's method for children who are finding it particularly hard.

I watched this one from a link on the above mentioned thread and it's given me a few ideas.

moosemama Sat 12-Jan-13 21:56:51

another instructional video

Jaxx Sat 12-Jan-13 22:06:48

We used the method Frizzcat outlined with our son and it worked brilliantly. He had it mastered in 3 sessions - it took longer convincing him that he wouldn't really be able to use stabilisers forever (he had also asked if you can get motorbikes with stabilisers.

He was younger, 6 has HFA and hypermobility (mainly hands and wrists though), but you should definitely give it a try. Find a safe place with a little bit of an incline to help them maintain their "cruise" to be able to get the hang of balancing.

We bought an Islabike as they are well designed and lightweight to try and make it as easy for him as possible. They are very expensive, but also have ridiculously high resale values.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 12-Jan-13 22:20:29

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I'm very excited!!

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 12-Jan-13 22:22:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 12-Jan-13 22:32:58

Another vote for pedals off.

Good luck smile

WilsonFrickett Sun 13-Jan-13 16:23:48

DS7 rode his bike for the first time yesterday!
We were trying him out again after 6 months of not trying at all, and DH was just seeing how he was before taking the pedals off. And he could do it! grin

The only thing that's changed in the last 6 months is he got a scooter which he uses happily every day. DH is convinced it has taught him the balance he needs for his bike, I'm convinced it's just confidence, but either way it's worked. Worth thinking about, you can get one of the stunt scooters quite cheaply and - importantly I think - they look cool and NTs use them too so DS didn't stand out from his peers.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:42:55

DS1 was also desperate to do the bikeability because every one else was. This provided him with motivation but it was still hard going. Fear of falling off was a big issue and over-compensating with the steering. No pedels reduces the fear and allows them to concentrate on steering and balance.

The actual test was very difficult for him as he was clearly a novice whilst the other children were very confident. They also cycle down the road as part of the test <heart in mouth>. The instructor was a bit concerned (well a lot actually). Since then his interest in riding his bike disappeared completely and he can no longer do much more than ride it on the grass around the garden.

DS1 is obsessed with stunt scooters (in a knows the details of accessories kind of way) but he also rides them. He has practised dilegently and can even do some stunts but this has not translated to being able to ride his bike.

To help with balance you could also try a wobble board.

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 13-Jan-13 16:55:12

That's great thanks. DS has a scooter but it is one of those with two wheels at the front so balancing is easier.

What kind of bike would you recommend?

moosemama Sun 13-Jan-13 17:58:57

Wilson, ds2 had a black-label stunt scooter for Christmas, precisely so he could fit in with his friends. He doesn't do stunts on it, but at least he's out there moving and building his muscles and balance skills. He had a three wheel one last year, after riding one at a friend's house, but by this autumn wouldn't go outside the garden on it, and dh sussed why when they bumped into some of his classmates in the park.

He has JHS with pretty much every joint affected, as well as some hypotonia and he just cannot manage to ride a bike, even with stabilisers, he hates it so much he won't even try.

We bought him a wobble board off ebay and he's doing quite well on that now.

AgnesDiPesto Sun 13-Jan-13 19:08:16

It wont help with him riding on his own but a number of towns now offer SN cycling eg where you can borrow tandems, bicycles where 2 people cycle side by side etc

Our council also ran a SN bikeability course aimed at SN / less confident riders over half term at a council sports centre for children who did not want to do it at school

DH volunteers during the summer at a tandem cycling group (able rider on the front, sn rider on the back) and its a really lovely social group so even if can't learn on his own, may be alternatives eg when we went to a few open days run by a charity / shop with a whole host of sn bikes, my older two borrowed recumbent cycles which were really fun - no balancing required.

WilsonFrickett Sun 13-Jan-13 19:17:38

They're great aren't they moose? Was an impulse buy for us but so glad we did it. Not only for benefits to DS, but it cut the time for the school run in half as well grin

PolterGoose Sun 13-Jan-13 19:23:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgnesDiPesto Sun 13-Jan-13 19:38:16

We're really lucky to have this charity / shop near us who put on events / hire out bikes - owned by a Dad of a boy with Downs and ASD. Thats DS in the blue hat in the enormous wooden bucket at the front of the bike! No pedalling required! They even do cycling holidays for SN families. There is literally a bike for everyone - even if you need someone else to do the work.

Charlottes Tandems is another charity that loans tandems for free.

Tiggles Sun 13-Jan-13 20:20:39

We taught DS1 and 2 to ride using the no-pedals method, both aged about 6. DS1 has hypermobility (although mainly in his hands and arms, on waiting list for assessment for dyspraxia). DS2 is a bit dyspraxic but nothing major.
Find somewhere fairly flat and straight, so there is no 'worry' about getting going and then having to turn a corner.

As recommended above Islabikes are very good but expensive. It is also worth looking at ridgeback bikes, not as expensive, but a few pounds heavier in weight. DS2 is 10 and we recently bought him a giant mountain bike, a good thing about it is it has 'rapid fire' gear changers as with the hypermobility he really struggled with the grip shift gears (we had to change them on his old bike as he just couldn't change gear).

WilsonFrickett Sun 13-Jan-13 23:01:37

That's a good rec littleMiss DS will grow out of his bike very soon (as its sat in the garage for a year and a half) and his next will need to have gears so will keep that in mind. Him not managing to pull the brakes was another reason he took his time learning.

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