Cycling with Cerebral Palsy
Adaptive bicycles and para-cycling options for children with cerebral palsy
One of the highlights of this year’s CP Association of BC’s Life Without Limits Gala was raising funds for an adapted bike for one of the CPABC’s young members, a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. With the help of auctioneer extraordinaire, comedian David C. Jones, the gala attendees came together to raise a staggering $3,150 — the high cost of one three-wheeler for someone with profound cerebral palsy.
Because each case of cerebral palsy is as unique as the child, cycling activities vary widely among the CP community, as do cycling technologies. For example, a child with spastic diplegia will likely need different modifications to their bicycle than a child with a mild form of mixed cerebral palsy. Within the world of competitive para-sports, there are fourteen classifications based on disability type, with several athletes with cerebral palsy representing Canada in para-cycling at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Cycling can be a fun, social, and therapeutic activity for children with cerebral palsy. Pedaling can improve physical conditioning, endurance, and motor coordination. Independence gained through physical activity can be also important for the child’s self-concept. However, it is very important that the child’s occupational therapist is consulted before commencing cycling or any new sport. In fact, occupational therapists often consult directly with the bicycle company to ensure that the customization fits their patient perfectly.
Unfortunately, the everyday financial strain faced by the average CP family is often far too great to be able to afford an adapted bicycle — let alone more immediate needs. Contact us today to hear how we can help.