Ride to the Rhythm!

19-year-old Max, the “musical savant” rode his tandem bike with his family for years of fun!

When he wasn’t playing piano or accordion, Max would ride around his neighborhood in Virginia with his parents on their Freedom Concepts ET2611 tandem bike.

He was born with Autism, Partial mosaic trisomy/tetrasomy 18, and Bilateral anophthalmia (no eyes). These diagnoses make it difficult for Max to ride a bike, so the tandem was the best option for their family. Without sight, Max can’t steer on his own, so the tandem allowed his dad to steer while Max could still help to pedal the bike.

Max’s mom Jenny said it was usually his dad Alan steering the bike, “because I kept driving into the ditch,” she laughed.

“Our world is small. We’ve spent a lifetime parenting Max, one of us does one thing, one of us stays with Max. It’s the fact that we could go out and do something all together as a family, something physical, that was a fun, normalized activity that other families like to do,” she said, “It wasn’t a special disability related activity only for ‘people-with-disabilities’ kind of thing because oftentimes when our worlds become small it was very normalizing for us to be able to just go on a bike path in our neighborhood and go for a bike ride altogether.”

She added that they liked the tandem style because it allowed for all of them to be on bikes as opposed to one person walking and pushing Max’s bike.

“You know, this world can be pretty small, and his mobility has always been challenged. So, for him to be able to go fast and to feel turns and the wind and to be outside and just pedal is amazing,” said Jenny.

Since getting older, Max’s family has donated their bike to a respite facility for many kids to enjoy and experience its therapeutic benefits.

“I would encourage families to get a bike, I know a lot of the time when you’re raising a child with significant disabilities, so much of your time and effort in life becomes about medical needs and only meeting medical needs. It’s easy to ignore recreational opportunities and it’s easy to give up on the fact that there are activities that you guys can do all together,” she said.

Click here to learn more about adaptive tricycles. 

Amy with Spinal Bifida, riding her bike
Amy with Spinal Bifida, riding her bike