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Thread: Need Help

  1. #1
    Senior Member BayBruin's Avatar
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    Need Help

    Never thought I would be asking a tandem question but here's my story:

    My oldest son is 8 years old (weighs 85 pounds) and he has autism but is very high functioning. When he was younger I would get him out on his bike sporadically with training wheels and because of a lack of coordination and lack of attention he took a couple spills on it (yes...even with training wheels). He says he doesn't like to ride bikes but I know it's just because of the fear factor. He wants to drive someday but I told him that first he needs to learn how to ride a bike. If I can't trust him to pay attention while riding his bike a car is out of the question.

    Anyway, I was pretty much resigned to him not riding but then someone brought up the "trail-a- bike" option. Totally turned a light on for me. We tried one years ago when he was like 5 and he loved it when he was with his aunt. I asked him yesterday if he would like something like that again and he said he really would. I think it would be perfect...help with his balance....get him used to pedaling....SAFE! But now that I am looking at these things the best I can find seems to have a wieght limit of 75 pounds. Since he is already 10 pounds over the max weight and these things are expensive I'm thinking this isn't a good option. Thoughts/suggestions? One thought I had is why I didn't do this MUCH sooner. Oh well.

    There is also the idea of a tandem bike but I am 6' 2" and he is much shorter. Is there an "off the rack" tandem that could accomodate both of us? I can't see spending serious cash on a custom tandem when I am not convinced he would like it.

    I REALLY need to find an activity my son will really enjoy. Cycling is a good option because my youngest likes to ride...I love to ride...and my wife used to ride and would be interested starting again. My son loves to read, play in his room, watch TV (ugh) and play on the computer. I need some activity that he will like so I can get him on a path towards life long fitness plus improved balance and focus would be huge pluses.

    All suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emile Faber

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Yes, there are a couple out there. The best of the bunch are the Co-Motion Periscope tandems: http://www.co-motion.com/tandem_bike...eriscopes.html

    Bike Friday also sells 'Family Tandems' that can accommodate a wide range of riders.

    There are some other solutions, to include kid adapters for standard size tandems, but this should give you something to look at for budgeting purposes if you're in the market for a new, premium quality tandem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    A used Co-Motion Periscope or Bike Friday tandem would cut the intitial co$t
    Also Brown Kidz tandem would be a great option with son taking the front while dad steers/handles tandem from the rear.
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  4. #4
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Everybody is limited not only to what they can afford to spend, but also what they can justify spending on a given item. The family's lifetime health, fitness, and togetherness gives the latter a high ceiling, but .....

    If ten grand or so isn't completely out of the question, it sounds to me like a convertible quad might be something to look at. With the bikes and couplers of today, a quad that can be converted to a triple or double wouldn't be a bad way to go considering your circumstances and family size.

    http://www.co-motion.com/tandem_bike...lti_bikes.html
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

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  5. #5
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    DiabloScott, a habitue of the Northern California forum, has an informative blog post on this subject.

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    I also have a son that has poor balance. At 85 pounds, and growing, a trailing bike is very hard to handle. It kicks the leading bike around too much. I bailed after 1 ride and said never again. We had used one when he was younger and lighter, and it was fine.

    We do fine on a tandem: At 8 he was able to ride the rear of a Cannondale X/S with crank shorteners and then daVinci 3 hole cranks.
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  7. #7
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    I also have a son that has poor balance. At 85 pounds, and growing, a trailing bike is very hard to handle. It kicks the leading bike around too much. I bailed after 1 ride and said never again. We had used one when he was younger and lighter, and it was fine.

    We do fine on a tandem: At 8 he was able to ride the rear of a Cannondale X/S with crank shorteners and then daVinci 3 hole cranks.
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  8. #8
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Hey thanks!

    6'2" is a little tall for a Bike Friday tandem - seat height won't be a problem but you'd likely not be very happy with the "top tube" length. Bike Friday folks are very helpful though and they could probably suggest some mods like a longer stem. Also the custom models have a lot more options than the standard version I got (which is fine for me).

    As far as an autistic stoker - that shouldn't be a problem but he'll have to understand about paying attention and holding on - and you'll have all the normal tandem issues of coordinating mounting and dismounting, pedalling the same cadence, etc.

    I'm in Concord and I'd be happy to let you test ride our tandem if you're close by ... send me a PM.

    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Senior Member BayBruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    DiabloScott, a habitue of the Northern California forum, has an informative blog post on this subject.

    Wow....this was a great post. I think this bike could really work for us. Of course, I need to call them and ask about the weight limits. With so much distance between the front and back wheels I'm worried about the structural soundness. I am pushing 3 bills....gotta be careful although I am in weight loss mode.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emile Faber

  10. #10
    Junior Member icanguy's Avatar
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    I have put Autistic kids on The Burley Piccolo in the past but sadly they are not available new anymore. You can still find them used if you look hard and long. They are much more stable than the Trail-A-Bike and handle the weight just fine. I am sure that they had a lawyers disclaimer on them but I don't remember what the weight limit was.

    When My son was six we road the California coast from Salinas down to San Luis Obispo fully loaded. I attached a rack to the Piccolo and put panniers on it. It was well over 100 pounds and it towed like a dream. The tandem with panniers and the Piccolo was quite a site to see. It was prediigal I'll have to scan some of those pictures in for people. you can see it here- http://www.burley.com/products/child/piccolo.cfm

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