Thanks again for all your help. You have made all the difference in the world to our cycle groups. I would never want to return to the original version! The cycle groups were children with various ‘Challenges’ and levels of challenge, including Dyspraxia, Aspergers, Autism and various other spectrums.
Before and After
We have been working for a number of years with a Children's Therapy group. Every year we run a 3 day cycle group for children with various ‘Challenges’ and especially with those who have expressed a desire to ride, but have never been able to master it. Initially the days would go well with general warm ups, then static bike handling skills. were taught. So far so good! This progressed to sitting on the saddle with attempts to balance when going down a slight incline. Things could be getting trickier with the brakes being applied ever more frequently! Proper cycling using the pedals was then attempted, always with an adult running alongside holding on to the saddle, endeavouring to keep the child centrally placed. Sometimes this worked if the children had gained reasonable balance, and they took off, however, more often than not it was highly alarming for the children who had no sense of balance, and even more alarming for the adult. The full weight of the child could suddenly veer to the right or left, either thrusting a bony elbow into the adult's stomach for added purchase, or else the cyclist could swing wildly in the opposite direction which once or twice caused everyone to land in a bit of an ungainly heap on the ground.
About 3 years ago we heard about Joe and his Glide Bikes. We invited him along, and life has never been the same since!! The Glide Bikes allow the children to gradually learn how to balance in their own time and at their own pace. There are no pedals. so they are not trying to master 2 skills at once, that is balance and pedalling. The children are completely in control of their own progress using their feet a lot initially to 'walk' the bike along. Gradually as the saddle is heightened they naturally gain more and more balance as their feet often leave the ground, particularly if there is a slope. This gives the children such a thrill and they very quickly want to go onto their own bikes to attempt pedalling. Minimal if any assistance is then required by the adult - it's amazing!
Joe is absolutely fantastic at motivating the children, he knows exactly how quickly to advance them onto the next stage, but at all times the children themselves feel totally in control. A good number of the children at the beginning of the sessions will say 'I will never be able to ride a bike'. However, - neither they nor their parents know the magic of the Glide Bikes and the huge encouragement given by Joe. Every single child advances dramatically - It is so wonderful to see them leaping about totally ecstatic when they've mastered this thing that they used to dread, and to see the delight on the the faces of the parents is great testimony to Joe and his glide bikes.
Fiona Holburn - Paediatric Physiotherapist and Lucy, Helen and Katy - Occupational Therapists - NHS TRUST