Learning To Ride A Bike, Low Motor Skills

July 5th, 2016

My son is 10 years old, he has EDS (elhers-danlos-syndrome) also under the category of HMS (hypermobility syndrome) he has had motor skills problems all of his life, he has worked hard and adapted well so that they do not affect him too much.

Riding a bike is something a lot of children have learnt by the age of 10, he has tried so many times and it has been clear that he REALLY wanted to ride a bike, we have had so many new bikes in an attempt to get him going but we never quite got there. He did give it his all, and always did so well, as with other things he struggled with we found that arms and legs working together along with balancing and watching where he was going was just too overwhelming for him, so each time, battered, bruised and feeling deflated, he gave up!

And every time he tried again I was very proud, I didn’t know if he would do it this time, but he was willing to give it his all, again, after so many attempts in the past

This month he learnt to ride a bike, he had a trip coming up, he did some good extracurricular work and as a reward he gets to go on a trip, they are looking at ways to travel that are good for the environment, this is right up his ally, being druids and we even have an electric car!

This trip involved riding a bike, and this time he was DETERMINED!

learn to ride bike

We took the peddles off his new bike and off he went learning to balance, once he got the hang of this he asked for one peddle to be put back on, this was the peddle that he felt was for his strongest leg, the one to get him going and give him momentum.

This seemed quite scary to start with, starting off at a bit of speed, but once it clicked that speed actually meant he was more likely to stay upright, it got easier for him.

So then the other peddle went on and although a bit shaky to start he was off managing to peddle and stay on for a few meters, I was so proud of him, he spent days outside on his bike, practising, then the day came that he rode peddled and turned around without falling off, very, very proud, he had only been trying for a few days!

The day after this, the day we consider he could actually ride a bike, he went off on a training day for his trip, and did a 10 mile+ bike ride, I am just so so so super proud, he went from just about riding a few meters to a 10mile bike ride over night!

riding a bike eds

The week after this we packed the bikes (and my wheelchair) into the leaf (car) and took him on a bike ride to see for ourselves what he could do, we only had one tantrum, on a big hill that even my husband couldn’t ride up! We had a good day out and I was confident he can ride his bike well.

bike ride EDS

Today our son is on his trip, he has spent the day riding a bike, about 2 weeks after he learnt to ride, he camped last night and will be camping again tonight, he is doing well, and is super pleased he could join in, and just be a normal active 10 year old 😀

It really is hard for children with EDS or children with any other low motor skill problem to ride a bike, and loosing confidence is understandable, one thing we did do was make sure he did have his meds for managing his condition!

Our son usually gets to choose (within reason) if he has his meds, if he isn’t expecting to do much activity he doesn’t always need any, but if he starts feeling that he does then he can change his mind and have some, and I can often tell if he needs them as I can see he is shifting his weight to compensate for pain that he hasn’t noticed yet. One thing with learning a new skill that is active is that pain meds really are our friends, it allows us to exercise without feeling as battered and beaten as we usually would, this is more so than most for people with EDS, my son gets loads of bruises when being active too, he is pickled with them at the moment! And although I don’t want him to become reliant on pain meds keeping on top of the pain when learning something new helps with this a lot!

by Juniper Askew

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