The Buddy Bike - FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions about The Buddy Bike
How and when was Buddy Bike started?
The concept of the Buddy Bike began in the early 1990s when Robert Gardner of Willits, California designed a bike which he called The Love Bike because he wanted to carry his young son on the front of his bicycle. In 2003, Barry Nelson, the father of an autistic child, purchased a used Love Bike. He was so enthralled by the opportunity this bike gave him and his son, Jesse, that he contacted the inventor then created a Trust for Jesse and used those funds to purchase the patent and remaining inventory of what came to be know as The Buddy Bike. Shelley Patterson managed the Buddy Bike business until it closed in 2020. She founded Bikes For Every Body LLC as the Home of The Buddy Bike and continues to carry on the mission of using bicycles to promote inclusion around the world.
Why Should I buy a Buddy Bike?
The Buddy Bike is a rear seat steering tandem bicycle. If your small child or special needs child is too big for a child seat or a tag-along bicycle and you don't feel safe with them riding behind you, the Buddy Bike offers the safety of having your child ride in front of you. You will be able to ride more comfortably with your arms around your child as you can observe what they are doing and easily give words of encouragement or talk about the sights around you without having to turn and shout to them in the wind.
How is the Buddy Bike different from a regular tandem or tag-along?
A typical tandem bike places the "captain" in the front seat; the captain steers the bike and controls the brakes while the "stoker" rides in back. The Buddy Bike reverses those positions putting the stoker in the front seat. In our case, the stoker is usually a special needs child. By placing the child in front, it creates a more interactive bike riding experience. Parents can speak right into the ear of the child, rather than shouting at them in the wind, and the child has an open view of the world around them rather than just the back of their parent. On a tag-along, the pedals are not connected and the child rider may not pedal or receive exercise. They are merely being dragged along behind. On the Buddy Bike, your child will be in front with only the road ahead, feeling like they are in charge, but knowing they are still close enough to receive encouragement and support. Parents are also thrilled to have their children in front of them where they can monitor the child's activity and make sure they are not randomly jumping off the bike!
Which Buddy Bike model would be best for my family?
We have created a Buddy Bike Model Comparison to help you choose the right Buddy Bike for you and your family. If you need further assistance, please contact email@example.com or 786.489.BIKE (2453).
How will the Buddy Bike benefit my special needs child?
The innovative features of the Buddy Bike provide the alternative to tandem cycling, bike tag-along attachments, trikes or tricycles, and infant bike seats. The Buddy Bike offers children and adults with special needs an opportunity for adaptive outdoor recreation and therapeutic activity. Riders may benefit from: safe and interactive cycling fun, rear rider is close enough to speak words of encouragement into the front rider's ear rather than shouting at a rider riding behind, opportunity to work on communication skills while riding, an opportunity for growth and development and front riders who can pedal will receive exercise which directly combats obesity. To read more about the therapeutic benefits of The Buddy Bike, visit our Special Needs page or read the stories and comments of the families that are using the Buddy Bike at Customer Comments or our Buddy Bike Stories pages.
Who may benefit from riding the Buddy Bike?
Kids and adults with cognitive disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Aspergers, or kids and adults with physical disabilities such as Fragile X, sight impairment, hearing impairment, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, low muscle tone, balance issues and other disabilities that may prevent them from riding a bicycle safely on their own. Recent studies are showing that riding a bicycle can reduce tremors in patients with Parkinson's Disease. Riders with severe physical disabilities may not be able to ride the Buddy Bike. Riders must have enough trunk strength to sit upright on a standard bicycle seat or our Sunlite Backrest Saddle. Adults who have never ridden a bicycle can also learn to ride on a Buddy Bike. To read more about the benefits of the Buddy Bike, visit our Special Needs page.
When will my child outgrow the Buddy Bike?
The Buddy Bike safely supports a total weight of up to 380 pounds. Two adults can ride together so you will be able to enjoy the Buddy Bike for many years to come. We do not specify a maximum height or height restrictions on the front seat of The Buddy Bike as it varies by the riders; but it is necessary that the rear rider is able to see over the front rider's head in order to safely steer the bicycle. Adults can ride the front of the Buddy Bike but some taller riders may be uncomfortable as their knees may come close to the handlebars.
Is my child tall enough and old enough to ride?
If your child can sit upright on a standard bicycle seat, they can ride the Buddy Bike. Front seat riders must have an inseam of 25" to be able to pedal. For smaller riders who can't reach the pedals, fold-out foot pegs provide a place to rest their feet out of the way of the pedal motion path. Foot pegs are sold separately.
Can I ride the Buddy Bike with my spouse or another adult rider?
The Buddy Bike safely supports a total weight of up to 380 pounds. Two adults can ride the Buddy Bike, making it the ultimate family bike that can be enjoyed by riders of all ages. It can be ridden alone but it is much more fun to enjoy the close intimate ride of the Buddy Bike. The Buddy Bike is shorter in length than a typical tandem and provides less leg room for the rear rider but casual riders will enjoy the cruiser bike ride and being close enough to converse and give an occasional romantic kiss! The Buddy Bike is also a great tool for teaching adult riders to ride a bike for the first time.
Are the pedals on the same drive chain?
Yes. There are two bike chains connected to the same drive chain. The pedals work together. The front riders cranks are slightly smaller than the rear set. The benefit is that you will move the pedals of the front rider and if you can place the feet of the front rider on the pedals, you will provide physical activity which directly combats obesity, increases blood flow and may help to improve leg movement and flexibility. If the front rider can't keep their feet on the pedals, your bike shop may be able to provide toe clips, cages or velcro exerciser pedals to help keep the rider's feet in place. The Captain (rear rider) should adjust their pedal strokes to accommodate the front rider's skills. Slow, smooth, even pedal strokes and patience will help children with disabilities to become accustomed to riding the Buddy Bike.
Can the front riders pedals be disconnected?
Yes. The front chain could be removed so that only the rear rider's pedals will move the bicycle. We do not suggest removing that chain as the front rider will no longer receive the benefit of receiving physical exercise. The rear rider will also have a more difficult ride as the full weight of the Buddy Bike and both riders will have to be moved entirely by the rear rider.
Where can I buy adaptive accessories?
Buddy Bike offers optional adaptive accessories such as a supportive bike seat, pedals that will help hold your child's foot in place and crank shorteners to help riders with less than a 25 inch inseam to reach the pedals. Visit our ONLINE SHOP to see available adaptive bicycle accessory options.
Where can I buy a Buddy Bike?
Bikes For Every Body LLC is the distributor of the Buddy Bike. If you need help choosing the right Buddy Bike model and accessories for your family call Shelley at 786.489.2453 or hit us upon on CHAT. . Once you know what you need, you can SHOP NOW!
Where can I try a Buddy Bike?
Visit our EVENTS page to find out where you can try a Buddy Bike. If you don't see an event in your area, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your city and state to receive information about Buddy Bikes in your area.
Where will I store the Buddy Bike?
The Buddy Bike is 82 - 84 inches in length depending on the bike model and the handle bars are 33 inches wide. The aluminum Buddy Bike weighs up to 56 pounds. It is easiest to store alongside a car in a garage. It is not too heavy but it is bulky to lift for storage or to carry up stairs.
How can I transport the Buddy Bike?
At this time Buddy Bike does not suggest any specific make or model of bike rack for use with the Buddy Bike. The weight of the Buddy Bike varies by model and is between 53 and 62 pounds. This weight is well under that required by most bike racks but due to the size and dimensions of the Buddy Bike, not all bike racks could be safely used. The Buddy Bike is a "tandem bicycle" although it is shorter than the typical tandem. Some bike racks specify that they are not for use with tandem bicycles. For safety, read your bike rack Owner's Manual before mounting the Buddy Bike on any rack. Pick up trucks, SUVs and vans are by far the best option for transporting Buddy Bikes but if you don't have this type of vehicle read what other customers are using at our Bike Racks page.
Is there a warranty?
Yes. Limited warranty.
What is the return policy?
If a Buddy Bike order is cancelled PRIOR to shipping we will offer a 100% refund. Due to the expense of shipping the Buddy Bike, once a Buddy Bike has shipped, we do not offer a return policy. All sales are final. Please note that our dealers may offer their own return policy and any sales through the dealers may be subject to those policies. We encourage our customers to try a Buddy Bike prior to ordering if possible. If there aren't any demos in your area, you may find these web pages to be helpful in deciding if the Buddy Bike is for you: Customer Comments, FAQs or our demonstration video at YouTube.
Is funding available?
Many families have obtained funding to purchase the Buddy Bike as therapeutic equipment for children with physical and/or cognitive disabilities such as autism, Down Syndrome, sight impairment, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and hypotonia. Please visit our FUNDING OPTIONS page for a list of ideas for seeking medical funds to purchase the Buddy Bike as therapeutic equipment. If you do not qualify for state or county funds, we offer alternative funding suggestions based on the successful fundraising efforts of other families. According to Laura in Lakewood, CO, she was initially denied and filed several appeals but she eventually obtained the support she needed through a local organization. Although Buddy Bike, LLC does not offer funding programs and we are not a Medicare provider (although we are listed as a "vendor" in several states), we are happy to work with your funding sources to help make your dream of having a Buddy Bike become a reality!
Does the Buddy Bike have an electric assist option?
While adding electric assist to The Buddy Bike can be beneficial for parents who are carrying the full weight of both riders, we do not offer an electric assist option at this time. Some families have added electric assist on their own. We suggest using a local bike shop that specializes in electric assist bicycles so a system can be installed safely. WARNING: Please note that The Buddy Bike is a cruiser-type bicycle that is not intended for high speeds and off-road use.