FATWHEELS Bicycle Safety Series – Kids and Traffic

10 Reasons Kids are Especially at Risk in Traffic Situations

Riding on busier streets demands greater skills to avoid collisions. If children develop safe cycling skills and learn to follow the rules of the road, many collisions can be avoided. Some accidents, however, happen through no fault of the cyclist, so children must be taught to ride defensively and to wear bicycle helmets.

Kids are particularly vulnerable because they :

1. expect others to look out for them

2. have no understanding of complicated traffic situations

3. overestimate their knowledge and physical strength

4. focus on one thought at a time.

5. assume that if they can see someone, they can also be seen.

6. think vehicles can stop instantly.

7. have difficulty estimating the speed a vehicle is traveling.

8. have a field of vision one third narrower than adults have.

9. have difficulty determining the direction of sounds.

10. do not have the experience or judgement needed to ride at night.

At FATWHEELS, we take bicycle safety very seriously. Our adaptive training wheel kits are used in hospitals, school settings and by riders of all ages and abilities all across North America. We use only the highest quality materials for our products and back them up with 100% confidence.

Until next time,

Colleen,

FATWHEELS Bicycle Safety Series – Early Cycling Skills

Exploring the world beyond their own neighborhood gives children a sense of independence.

Never pressure children to ride a two-wheeled bike, consider children’s coordination and desire to learn to ride. Children develop at different rates, but most “typical” children can graduate from tricycles to training wheels between the ages of 4 and 6. If your child has special needs consider investing in a set of adaptive training wheels such as FATWHEELS so that they feel safe & secure while learning how to ride.

Children Under Age 10

This age group usually has not developed the skills to ride with traffic and should not ride on the street.

  • Make sure you and your children wear approved helmets
  • Children under age 7 should only ride with adult supervision even on the sidewalk.
  • Children age 8 & 9 may be allowed to ride unsupervised , but not on the street.
  • Unless you are riding with them, never allow children to bike in or around traffic.

Children over Age 10

This age group may ride on their own with proper training, but may need to be restricted to certain streets.

  • Explain that a bicycle is a vehicle and must obey all traffic signs and rules.
  • Street riding should depend on traffic, maturity, adequate knowledge, and ability to control the bike and follow the rules of the road.
  • Bicycle or walk all routes with your children to identify safe routes for bicycling between home and school etc.

At FATWHEELS, we take bicycle safety very seriously. Our adaptive training wheel kits are used in hospitals, school settings and by riders of all ages and abilities all across North America. We use only the highest quality materials for our products and back them up with 100% confidence.

Until next time,

Colleen

FATWHEELS Bicycle Safety Series – Bikes

When choosing a safe bicycle for your child consider the following points:

Look for a bike that is simple, safe, sturdy, and durable. Most children do not appreciate or use gear, hand brakes, and other safety features until age 9.

  • Consult experts who can help choose a bike children can control but will not outgrow quickly. Children may lose control and be injured on a bicycle that is the wrong size.
  • Buy training wheels that are made with strong steel and thick rubber NOT thin metal and plastic.
  • Make sure fender edges are rolled over or coated to avoid cutting legs and fingers.
  • Choose a bike with a chain guard and avoid wearing loose pant legs when riding.
  • Choose a bike with knobby grippy pedals to keep feet safe.

FATWHEELS takes bicycle safety very seriously. Recently, we have started offering bike bundles on our website that pair a safe, high quality bicycle with a set of our adaptive training wheels. These bikes are manufactured & distributed by Kent International and our adaptive training wheels are used in hospitals, school settings and by riders of all ages and abilities all across North America. Both companies use only the highest quality materials and back them up with 100% confidence.

Until next time,

Colleen

How Do Adaptive Bikes Help Children With Disabilities?

There are obvious benefits to adaptive bicycles, including increased opportunity for exercise. Children of all abilities benefit from exercise, as it increases cardiovascular health, muscle tone, bone/joint health, stamina, balance and coordination. For children with disabilities (who may have differential requirements such as postural support), commercial bikes from big-box stores may be inaccessible for reasons of low muscle tone, poor coordination or cognitive disabilities. Adaptive bikes may have heavy-duty training wheels, extra-wide frames, trunk reinforcements, head support, leg or hand straps, and steering assistance to help these children engage with physical movement.

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It’s All About Balance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of adults over sixty-five fall each year. Most are not seriously injured, but broken bones and head injuries from falls land about 700,000 people in hospitals each year, the CDC says.
Tiffany Shubert, a physical therapist who is also a research scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill confirms this statistic and is quoted as saying “And once people fall or become noticeably unsteady, “fear of falling” itself becomes a problem. “People start to limit their activity because they are afraid, they might fall. That can have a huge impact on quality of life. “You are afraid to walk up and down stairs, so all of a sudden you can’t go to the movie theater anymore.”


The key is to be thinking about balance before you ever have a fall.


To give us some information about balance, we turn to Peter Wayne, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Peter maintains that balance is not just a matter of how well the vestibular system of the inner ear is working. Declines in strength, flexibility, vision, touch, and mental functioning can all contribute to balance problems. “Balance is a very complicated process,” he says. But improving it can be simple. Here are a few tips:


• Practice standing on one foot, challenging yourself to increase the duration. You can do it online at the grocery store or while brushing your teeth. If that is too difficult at first, start by using a chair back or bathroom counter for support. If it is easy, try raising your foot higher or holding it out to the side. For extra challenge, try standing on a throw pillow or closing your eyes.


• Try heel-to-toe walking, as if on a balance beam.


• Practice getting in and out of a chair without using your hands.


• Exercise while standing on a wobble board or Bosu ball (an inflated rubber disc on a stable platform).


• Try tai chi or yoga. The evidence that tai chi can improve balance is especially strong, and studies show it is quite safe for people of all ages and fitness levels. In a typical class, a series of movements is performed in a slow, graceful flow, accompanied by meditative deep breathing.


If you are an older adult that likes cycling, you may also want to consider adaptive cycling by outfitting a bike with a set of wheel stabilizers like FATWHEELS. These heavy duty “training wheels” retrofit to almost any bike on the market and they will provide you with the stability you need to enjoy the FUN, FREEDOM & HEALTH benefits of riding a bike despite any challenges that you may have with your balance.


And remember what Albert Einstein said; “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving!”


Until next time,

Colleen

OH Canada!

FATWHEELS is growing!

We have recently finished onboarding a Canadian Distributor – introducing Bow Cycle & Sports of Calgary, Alberta CANADA. Opened in 1957, The store has grown to become one of Canada’s largest and most successful bicycle retailers. Boasting almost all of the industry’s largest names under one roof, Bow Cycle continues to exceed client expectations of customer service and product quality.

We first met the folks at Bow Cycle in 2015 when they contacted us about purchasing some adaptive training wheels for the Calgary Cerebral Palsy Kids and Families adapted bike program. The program matches children with cerebral palsy with a bicycle for a one-year period for $50. When the year’s up, the bike gets recycled to another family and the child can opt for a new bike. It is a program that is near & dear to the hearts of the staff at Bow Cycle.

Since their values align so well with ours, Bow Cycle & Sports was at the top of our list this past year, when were looking to expand into the Canadian marketplace. They really know their stuff and, (like us), they have a passion for helping to ensure that EVERYBODY CAN RIDE.

If you are interested in purchasing a set of FATWHEELS directly from Bow Cycle, please click this link: https://www.bowcycle.com/sitesearch.cfm?search=fatwheelswww.bowcycle.com

I am SO glad that I will now have even more company on this Beautiful Ride!

Until next time,

Colleen

Adaptive Triathlons: A Win-Win-Win For All Involved

Here at FATWHEELS we are all about inclusion.  And that’s why I was so excited when Kelley Newman of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN., contacted me. Kelley organizes the hospital’s Tri My Best Triathlon. A swim, bike, run event for children of all abilities. This unique buddy program pairs children with and without disabilities to complete a race together as a team, using modifications if necessary.

Kelley said that children can complete the swim portion of the race by being pulled in a raft by their buddy or swimming with a noodle; whereas, the bike portion can be finished on an adaptive bike or by pedaling a standard bike alongside their buddy.  Finally, the run portion of the race can be completed on the athlete’s own two feet or by being pushed in a wheelchair or jogging stroller by their buddy.

The goal of the program is not just physical, but social as well.  Kelley said that she intends to match buddies and athletes of similar ages, in order to encourage peer interaction and help friendships grow.

Kelley is passionate and it’s infectious. “By working as a team, each child learns that winning is not just what happens at the end of the race, but during the journey of getting there together,” she said.

After that statement — I was sold. I loved the concept and was determined to get involved. I mobilized my team and we backed the event wholeheartedly.

The first  Tri My Best Triathlon was held eight years ago in Augusta, GA.  Since then, the concept has grown and this year adaptive triathlons are being organized nationwide. I encourage you to attend one. They are a fabulous way to spend a day as a volunteer, family member, athlete or simply a spectator.

Kelley said:

Everyone should experience a Tri My Best Triathlon.  Athletes, both with and without disabilities, are always proud of their accomplishment. Parents of children with disabilities are usually astounded at the ability of their child to complete a race, and parents of children who are helping as buddies are proud of their child’s efforts to help another child achieve success. Bystanders along the race course and finish line are very moved by the unity and efforts of each buddy team.

I couldn’t have said it any better.

Why not take it one step further and organize your own Tri My Best event? If you are a private therapy clinic enlist your staff and go for it! If you’re a parent, gather family members or special needs parents in your community and make it happen!  Ask a special education teacher or physical therapist if they or some of their colleagues might want to get involved.  Contacting your local children’s hospital or the physical therapy department at a university in your area may also be a good place to start.  To get in touch with others, who have already taken the plunge, here are some contacts:

Kelley Newman
Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital (Nashville, TN)
kelley.newman@vanderbilt.edu

Mary Eckhard
St. Louis Children’s Hospital (St. Louis, MO)
mary.eckhard@bjc.org

Tender Touch Therapy (Kenosha, WI)
frontdesk@tendertouchtherapyllc.com

To discuss sponsorships or any equipment needs you may have for FATWHEELS adaptive training wheels, please contact me directly at: colleen@fatwheels.com

Let’s work together to help this movement continue to spread!

Until next time,

Colleen

Regain Your Balance with Adult FATWHEELS

Regain your Balance Pic

If you are a senior, you may be helping your grand kids learn how to ride a bike. You watch as they make the transition from training wheels to riding independently. Their journey is not without wobbling, falling, and scraped knees. You help them up with encouraging words, a kiss, and a Band-Aid. Eventually, you witness the pure joy on their face as they finally manage to pedal without training wheels!

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