Tuesday, August 31, 2010

E's New Bike

I've been looking for the right bike for Elena for a long time now. I kept trying to find a tricycle or ride-on that she could do herself.

We started with this Kettler Trike:


It's a great tricycle. The big problem is that the front wheel is a cruising wheel, so you can push the trike and her feet will just sit there. I wanted her to feel her feet going around so she understood how the trike moves. I called up Kettler, and they would give me the other type of wheel for $50 bucks plus shipping. And, then we got caught up in Vivian's birth, so that sort of stopped.

We got her a different sort of ride-on...the Plasmacar.


It's propelled forward by turning the handwheel back and forth. Elena got it...but it was hard for her to sit up and use her hands unless we were on a polished floor. The vibration of pavement and the tight grip of her hands made her seating arrangement very uncomfortable (b/c her legs would tighten up). She didn't like it.

I tried a Kinderbike. The internet website sales rep was really nice, and even got me a pink one after they had stopped selling them.


Elena took to it like every other kid--she'd stand up and take little steps forward while straddling the bike (not sitting on it). Most kids start this way, too. E could sit on the bike also...but had a lot of trouble with the idea of sitting on an unstable surface--and then moving her feet. She'd shuffle an inch at a time. She got SO FRUSTRATED that she wasn't moving, it turned out to be a disaster. Maybe I tried it too early. We revisited the kinderbike several times, hoping to start over where we left off--but instead, we ended up starting at the beginning--and ending in more frustration. Hmm.

I KNEW there was a bike out there she could use. I wanted her to do it HERSELF. Independence=confidence. Thanks to Elizabeth, I found a bike for E. It's called the Triton Cruiser, and it's a child-sized recumbent tricycle that can grow with E. I saw Elizabeth using this trike--flying on it--and I thought, THIS IS THE ONE.

I know a lot of vendors sell this bike, or one like it. Triton has a pink one, which sealed the deal. I bought it through Toys R Us online, b/c the store agreed that if I brought it to the store (unassembled, in the box) and paid them to assemble it, they would accept a full refund. This was crucial, b/c this bike is expensive, and I couldn't find a single store with a recumbent child trike that E could test drive. After the "toy isle test drive" was successful, I had to modify the pedals so 1) E could comfortably reach them and 2) her feet would stay on them.

I used packing foam, an over-the-commode toilet paper roll holder, and some velcro cable straps (these are my new favorite thing).



I cut off the metal hanger with a hacksaw. Then, I threaded the wheels with the velcro cable straps.



Then I carefully strapped them on so the assembly wouldn't move around under pressure.



Finished product with shoe and AFO as a model.



Here is E in action: First day. I just set the camera on the car, and couldn't see what I was filming--overall, you get the picture of SUCCESS, no?



She was so excited, we went out again the next morning. We brought chalk, and I drew a bunch of destinations, circles--basically things to keep her cycling around. We were here for an hour this morning!

7 comments:

carol.badger said...

Wow Amy! You are one amazing woman.
E's laughter says it all.

Spaghetti and meatballs ....... priceless.

Carol

caryanne said...

What a fantastic post! It's wonderful to see E on a bike! And this is just so hopeful. We've been wondering what kind of bike to get Ben for next year...and this may be it!! Thank you!!!!!

GingerB said...

Aweome engineering! My favorite PT wants me doing something like this for Hannah - wants the pedals to be able to have a loop to hold the feet and then a gadget to hold her weaker hand to the bars so she gets the sensatkion of steering on both sides. I'll like back when we get it going so your archives will have other options for other little Doodles who need wheels. And I'll be telling the PT about your engineering, I'm impressed!

TherExtras said...

Love the pretend destinations/play!

Anonymous said...

HI AMY MOM AND I READ YOUR POST ON THE BIKE AND AS I SAID BEFORE I HAVE THE SAME TYPE OF CP AS E AND I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHERE I CAN POSSIBLY TRY ONE OF THOSE OUT AS I LIVE IN CANADA..... I TOO WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO RIDE ON 2 WHEELS BUT THIS ONE I BELIEVE I COULD.. PLEASE LET ME KNOW THANKYOU

Jacolyn said...

You're a genius!! Grace must have this bike. Where did you get the velcro straps?

We are the McCreary Family said...

I love this bike!! It looks like so much fun we may need more than one so that big brother can ride, too! Our family owns a fleet of wiggle cars and all the cousins can ride at once. Those are great because Josh can make them go faster than anyone else, even the older kids!