Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Cycling

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Cycling

Article excerpt

Cycles come with one, two, three and four wheels. Some require a bent-over rider position; some allow leaning back in a recumbent position. Some cycles are hand powered; some are leg powered. Some cycles--tandem cycles--allow two or more people to cycle together. Bikes and trikes are made for the beach, the mountains and all terrains in between. Children and teens with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities can use cycles for transportation and recreation.

Types of Cycles

Modified Lef-Powered Cycles: A number of accessories--described in detail in ABLEDATA Fact Sheet #19--allow commercially available leg-powered bicycles and tricycles to be adapted for various physical limitations. Supports, belts and wide bench-style seats may be useful for riders with poor balance or trunk control. Adapted hand brakes and gear-shifting mechanisms can be employed by individuals with the use of one arm.

People with limited hand grip or strength can use hand and wrist straps connected to the handlebars, or vertical hand grips, to help them maintain contact with the cycle's steering components. An adult three-wheeled cycle may be an alternative to the traditional bicycle for persons with poor balance but otherwise good leg strength and trunk control.

Hand Cycles: Hand-powered cycles have made cycling accessible to individuals who do not have the leg strength to use traditional leg-powered cycles. Hand-powered cycles are available in numerous designs with various features. Some require the rider to pedal with the arms; others are propelled by pushing and pulling a handlebar lever.

Tandem Cycles: Tandem cycles are designed to carry two or more cyclists, with each cyclist contributing to the cycle's propulsion. Most tandem cycles are leg powered, but a few allow one cyclist to use leg power while the second uses hand power. Tandems come in bicycle-style models with two or more wheels configured in a line, and in tricycle-style three-wheel models. Tandem cycles are especially appropriate for riders who are visually impaired since they can rely on a sighted navigator to steer the bike.

Special Accessories

The traditional two- or three-wheeled cycle is powered by the rider's legs, and steered by the rider's hands. …

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