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Cycling and Special Needs: a Q&A with SpecialBikesUK

We are asked lots of questions about Special Needs cycling, especially by first-time riders. We sat down with one of our staff members that helps out on the rental side with special needs bikes to cover a few of the popular queries over a cuppa. Feel free to send us a question if you have one and we'll try and answer it!

SB: You see a lot of regulars who rent special needs bikes - is there any one bike that brings a lot of excitement to peoples eyes?

AR: The side by side for sure.

Side by side bicycle

SB: Why do you think that is?

AR: It is a stable, sociable, comfortable bike. And it just looks like fun.

SB: Do people of all ages and all disabilities use that bike?

AR: It is primarily used by older people as they can put in as much effort as they are want to alongside a stronger rider. It is also used by many with autism or balance issues. The sociableness is the best bit though -- people enjoy riding and chatting.

SB: Do you still get people coming to hire on a rainy day?

AR: Yes! My Danish mother would say, "Der findes intet der hedder dårligt vejr, kun dårligt påklædning!" There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. People generally come equipped and are not fussed.

SB: Tell me about the tandem bikes that are available. Who uses those?

AR: Sight impaired people primarily. We can rent to small groups but it is good if people call ahead to make certain we have the right number of bikes available. We also have a few brilliant cycling regulars who are autistic and the tandem works well for them.

SB: Do you have all the same bikes in both parks?

AR: Yes, the Duet, Side by Side, trikes (adult and children's sizes) and tandems. We've different numbers of each so calling ahead is a good idea.

SB: Besides the usual benefits of exercise, health, and well-being that bikes bring to everyone, are there any benefits specific to special needs people?

AR: A sense of routine is a big benefit and something that works well for autistic people especially. We've got people who have come for years, on the same day, at the same time every week. The predictability and familiarity are a real plus.

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