Our Guide to Specialised Children’s Cycles
Children should experience cycling as a continuum of experiences as they grow and develop skills. There are usually four stages, some of which can overlap. We try to keep a range of cycles to meet all these needs, and most of our advisors have gone through it all with their own children.
View Our Specialised Children’s Cycles
Inclusive Cycling for Children
Children with disabilities may not achieve all four of the steps, but we have the specialised cycles and adaptations to maximise their potential and help them access the benefits and joys of cycling. Sometimes cycling is a child’s only means of independent mobility.
Almost every two-wheeler has a three-wheeled equivalent. There are plenty of high quality trikes available, but choices need to be made: two wheels at the front or at the back? Pedalling or handcycling? Fixed-wheel or freewheel? Upright on a saddle or semi-recumbent on a supportive seat? Which gears and braking systems? What about a ‘carer handle’ connected to the steering and braking?
Better Quality Cycles
Unfortunately an attitude still exists that bikes for children should be cheap, yet a good child’s cycle can be as complex to make as the equivalent adult version. Nevertheless, our advice is to buy quality. Your child deserves it. A well-made cycle from a leading brand will give a better riding experience, will stand up to harsh treatment, and retain a stronger resale value. It is also more likely to have a stylish design.
Knowing about Growing
There’s also the annoying way that children keep on growing, so you worry that a cycle you have bought might soon be too small. On top of that a disabled child’s needs can change. We make sure that the cycle you buy is the largest size suitable, to allow for growth, and we can show some tricks for you or your local bike shop to adjust the cycle when it eventually needs to grow with your child.
A solo specialised cycle may be fine for rides in the park but is not for longer distances. For this your little one probably needs to ride with you on a shared a bike. In our opinion all children with special needs should somehow enjoy both solo and adult-assisted cycling.
When still little, your child may have no special cycling needs, in the sense that you can transport him or her in a stately box trike, with room for playthings and buggy. You can also use a standard child trailer, but with lower capacity.
Once your child can sit and pedal, more options open up: including child-back and steer-from-rear tandems, plus pedal bikes and trikes which attach to the adult’s cycle. These all come in two and three wheeled versions. On some tandems the child has a semi-recumbent supportive seat and also cycles, and there are ‘companion cycles’ with adult and child pedalling side by side.
Some children require adaptations. For example, children with low muscle tone may need additional torso support, specialised pedals, or low-resistance brake levers.
Options and Choices
You may spot the right cycle for your child easily, but there are clearly many possible variations, combinations and customisations. This is why, as a responsible social enterprise, we prefer to have a conversation with you first, to understand your exact needs and help you avoid mistakes. Our experts can also tell you about our try-out facilities and any alternatives amongst our refurbished cycles. It’s worth getting in touch!
We have built up expertise and supply chains which allow us to offer a wide range of refurbished cycles. Most of these are pre-loved models of top brands which we bring in from Holland and elsewhere. Our refurbished cycles are not always the latest model, but we buy quality, so even older cycles will look smart and all perform brilliantly. Refurbished cycles offer great value if you have a limited budget.
What Our Customers Say
"I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your help in making Ellie’s wish come true! She has not got off the bike since it was delivered. You have made a young girl very very happy and turned her illness into a positive. Yes she made Dad go out in the snow!"
More Specialist Cycles
Many of the cycles featured in other sections of this website involve cycling for and with children. They are incredibly versatile machines. Below are some related products that may be of interest if you are looking at cycling with three wheels.