A Bicycle Built For Two – Cycling with Children with Autism

Although we had some success with our eldest son Marc, Julia was never able to get the hang of it. What we began to realize was it was not just the skill of riding we had to teach, but all of the hidden curriculum that went along with cycling such as who gets the right of way, when do you use the bike bell, or how do you pass another cyclist. There were so many rules of the road to learn and exceptions to each situation. As parents, we were quite sure Marc and Julia would not be able to think fast enough if danger got in their way.

After mulling it over, we invested in two tandem bikes in the summer of 2008. This has been a great solution to cycling as a family. I take Julia with me and my husband has Marc. Both kids can get their exercise but it is us who make the safety decisions.

People get really excited when they see us out on our tandem bikes. They are a constant topic of conversation when we’re out on a ride. We have seen another family with one who have a teenaged son with Down Syndrome. Although tandem bikes can be an investment and usually have to be special ordered, I think they are worth the money as cycling is an activity that can be done throughout adulthood and they won’t outgrow this bike like the chariot carrier. Tandem biking keeps us moving together. We’re looking forward to another summer on our bikes.

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