When Ayden Love grew out of the push tricycle he used as a toddler, his mother Anita Ellington said that riding a bike was no longer feasible for him.
Ayden, now 7, has osteogenesis imperfecta type 5, a subtype of brittle bone disease. Although he can walk and bear weight, simple trips or falls can break or fracture bones.
“Imagine having a child, and never letting them fall down, and every time they fall down something breaks,” Anita said. “It’s very akin to a geriatric patient when you’re always feeling like ‘I can’t let them fall down.’”
Ayden broke his femur eight months ago, so at this time he is wheelchair dependent while he works on improving his mobility. Due to his injury, Ayden’s quad muscles have atrophied and aren’t bearing the weight they should, but his ASR16 adaptive bike has been helping him work those muscles.
“Anyone who’s ridden a bike knows that those are the muscles that hurt the worst when you get off the bike, which means they’re actually getting a workout,” Anita said. “The bike works really well because we call those his ‘lazy quads’, and that’s what his physical therapist has been working on with him, so she’s thrilled.”
Ayden received his adaptive bike in December of 2020, and since then, he’s been riding at least twice a week.
Since the cost for Ayden’s bike was going to be coming out of pocket, Anita’s sister submitted a request for his bike through a wish-granting initiative their local radio station was doing. Ayden received his ASR16 just in time for Christmas in 2020.
“He obviously thinks he has the coolest bike ever, and every kid wishes they had a bike like his,” Anita said.
Anita loves that the bike is semi-recumbent, so Ayden can ride independently. She also said that the Neoprene Adjustable Footplates have helped him feel more comfortable riding.
“To keep his feet in place has been insanely helpful because he’s always been scared the pedals would get away from him and hit his feet or his ankles,” Anita said. “These give him the sense of security that he can ride it and that it’s not going to hurt his feet or come back and hurt his leg.”
Anita explained that although riding a bike seems like a basic thing for a lot of parents, it’s a lot more than that to her and Ayden.
“For children who don’t have the option of riding a bike, it’s a huge, huge step and a huge sense of independence and almost normalcy,” Anita said. “It’s also one of those insanely proud moments because the nature of a bike is you fall off and you learn until you get back up, but that hasn’t been a possibility for him.”
Click here to learn more about Freedom Concepts adaptive bikes.