Do you remember riding a bike as a kid? I don’t think there’s a feeling quite like it. The freedom, the ability to just head off on your bike and go wherever you want to, getting your first car possibly compares but it doesn’t seem to hold the same nostalgia.
My parents used to make me and my brother wear these hideous cycling helmets called Tuff Top, seriously they were like giant eggs cut in half and stuck on our heads; not cool Mum, not cool. We used to put them on, then disappear to the end of the street where we promptly removed them and hid them in the next door neighbours hedge until it was time to come home when we retrieved them and stuck them on our heads again. I have great memories of cycling round the area I grew up in with my friends, cycling too close to my bestie on the pavement and getting our wheels caught up in each others, resulting in both of us falling off dramatically, unable to contain our hysterical laughter and praying no one had seen us!
Learning to ride a bike is somewhat of a right of passage, we have looked at adapted trikes for Lyla in the past and decided that she was just too little at that point. Recently the Universe stepped in, as She does so beautifully, to let me know that it’s time to start looking at trikes again when I watched a video of Lyla’s bestie, Lexi, who has learnt to ride her adapted trike on her own. A week or so later, Lyla and I were having a lovely coffee date and a wander with friends around Glasgow Green when we discovered a cycling oasis, Free Wheel North.
As we were having a look from beside the queue of kids waiting their turn to take a bike for a spin around the track, I noticed an adapted trike, too big for Lyla but not the kind of thing you see very often in a public space. Then I noticed a few more and after talking to a volunteer we discovered that they have a wide variety of adapted bikes and trikes for people with disabilities. I was sure they wouldn’t have a trike small enough or supportive enough for Lyla, given that I know how many added extra supports she was going to need when we looks at trikes for her in Australia. However what they did have was an incredible bike that allowed me to cycle while Lyla’s chair was secured onto a platform at the front of the bike. And so we were off!
First up was my crazy, dear friend, Helen, who was 39.5 weeks pregnant at the time, i swear to God i was terrified she was going to get knocked off or go into labour, thankfully she did neither and happily cycled round the track before handing the pedals over to me. Lyla grinned the whole way around the track, with both arms and legs out straight and the wind in her hair. She is such a wee girl racer, the faster and the more dangerous the activity the better as far as she is concerned.
And so just days later, our physio arranged for TheraPlay to fit Lyla for a trike of her very own. Sadly she still struggles with holding onto the handle bars, her involuntary movements make it really hard for her to hold her arm and hand in one place to do something for an extended period of time. This makes her really angry and frustrated with herself and lead to a giant tantrum while she was on the trike at her fitting. Even though the trike would be fully blinged up with all the supportive bits and pieces, she still needs to be able to hold onto the handlebars to hold herself up and maintain balance. So we’ll leave it until next year and try again, and in the meantime we’ll keep visiting Free Wheel North to use their cool wheelchair bike.
Do remember your first bike?
love Cara x