Buddy Bike, LLC manufactures
and distributes The Buddy Bike® an alternative tandem bicycle that provides
safe family fun and therapeutic activity for cyclists with special needs.
Bike for autism, down syndrome, sight impairment and other disabilities.
Austin -Winner of the
Buddy Bike in the Great Bike Giveaway 2012
Austin was born 14 weeks
early in March 1999. Weighing 1 lb., 13.7 oz. at birth,
Austin fought multiple infections during his 11 week
stay in the NICU. As a result of retinopathy of
prematurity and strong medicines used to fight his
multiple infections, Austin left the hospital completely
deaf and blind.
Other than the deafblindness, Austin is completely
healthy, and he does not let his dual sensory impairment
slow him down one bit. He is very active and loves to
spend as much time as possible outside jumping on the
trampoline, hanging upside down on the monkey bars,
swinging and swimming.
two younger sisters who love to ride bikes, but this is one
thing Austin has never been able to do independently. As a
result, whenever the girls wanted to go on a bike ride, my
husband or I would either have to stay behind with Austin at
home or drive to the park or playground and meet them if
that is where they were going. We had little doubt that
Austin was capable of riding a bike because of his
incredible strength and flexibility. However, we weren't
positive, and did not want to spend thousands of dollars on
a bike if he ended up not being able to ride it or not
wanting to ride it.
We had been
talking to Austin's adaptive PE teacher about different
types of adaptive bikes when she heard about Friendship
Circle of Michigan's Great Bike Giveaway. She passed the
information along to us, and I immediately entered Austin
into the contest by uploading a photo and brief biography of
for the contest began, I posted the information on my
facebook page and sent personal email and facebook messages
to everyone I knew asking them to vote for Austin and then
share with their family and friends asking them to do the
same. I printed out the instructions and gave them to my
high school students asking those with facebook accounts to
consider voting from home. The response was overwhelming.
Austin was in the top 5 for most of the voting period, but
we were worried because there was only one tandem bike being
given away, and we hoped that none of the children with more
votes than Austin would choose that bike. Luckily, they did
not, and we got the bike.
generally needs a little time to get used to new things,
so we weren't sure he would be willing to stay on the
bike at first and planned to introduce it to him for
just a few minutes at a time over a period of days.
However, the first time Austin felt the bike he climbed
on it and was ready to go. He wasn't wearing a shirt or
helmet, so he and my husband just rode around our
cul-de-sac for about 20 minutes. He was all laughs and
smiles. His sisters were so excited to see their brother
on a bike for the first time. Later that day, we all set
out on a bike ride to our neighborhood park for the
first time ever. Since that day, we have taken a family
bike ride at least once a week, and I don't think I'll
ever grow tired of these outings. We are so thankful to
Buddy Bike and Friendship Circle of Michigan for making
this dream a reality for Austin and our family.