When A Bike is More Than A Bike

The Buddy Bike has finally arrived!!

For those who don’t know, a Buddy Bike is an adaptive bike.  It’s much like a tandem bike but it has special considerations for families who have a member with a disability.  The person with the disability actually rides in the front, so they are in full view of the rear rider at all times.  However, the control of the bike still stays in the hands of the rear rider.  We’ve also found in the few short days of owning this bike that the front position of the special needs rider allows them to feel in control, which is critical for children like my own.

The road to owning our own Buddy Bike has been a long road.  It began with us entering a contest, us not winning the contest, a friend setting up a GoFundMe page, me swallowing my pride, and an incredible outpouring of support from our physical and our virtual community (please read more about our journey here & here).  We raised the money and put in our order and then waited five months for the bikes to come off of back order.

buddybike5Our bike arrived at Sidecountry Sports right before we left for vacation.  The assembly needed to be finished in a local location and they made it a priority to get it done as quickly as possible for Brian.

Brian was hesitant the first day on his new bike.  Like most new things, he tends to face them with anxiety.  But generally with continued exposure he comes around.

We’re on day four now and Brian is pedaling faster, laughing more, and traveling further.  In fact, on our last ride I laughed at him and told him he was pedaling too fast for his Mama!

So what’s the big deal?  It’s just a bike, right?  It’s just a toy.  It’s just a childhood play item.  It’s not life-changing.  It’s not a medical necessity.  It’s not that big of a deal….

but it is a big deal.

Brian has difficulty engaging in play with his peers.  He isn’t able to join local sports teams.  He rarely gets invited to birthday parties.  He has been asked on one play date since he started school.  Though kids go out of their way to say “Hi” to him, they don’t include him.  They are kind to him but they don’t independently try to include him.  They don’t see that he belongs.


But he does when he’s on his bike.  This will give him the chance to be able to participate.  To keep up with peers and his brother.  To be safe while doing so.  To laugh and have at least one of those childhood memories we all take for granted.  Remember how it felt?  The road passing by at what feels like rocket speeds with the wind in our face and no worries in the world.


People will see that he’s capable.  More importantly, he will feel capable.  He’ll see that he can do what the other kids are doing.  He’ll have the joy of having a hobby that he’s good at and enjoys.  I can already see his confidence grow each time we get on the bike.


Brian can sit at the front of his very own bike with nothing to see but the wide open road and the blue sky, feeling in control , free, and independent in a world that doesn’t offer him that very often.  That, my friends, is priceless.

If you contributed to our GoFundMe page, please email me your mailing address!  We are sending out thank you cards to everyone and we don’t want to miss anyone!  A lot of you, I know, but some of you are just extremely kind strangers.  Please, let us thank you!!

Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.