Arran is five years old and living with cerebral palsy. He attends regular therapy sessions, a special needs swimming class, and exercises but his physiotherapist suggested that riding a bike would strengthen his quads and help him learn to stand up.
“We decided we needed to be a biking family,” says Karen, Arran’s mum.
The family went to their local bike shop, but it only had trailers for Arran to be pulled along – he couldn’t ride by himself. The bike shop referred the family to Freedom Wheels.
“The first time Richard and I saw Arran ride independently we cried,” says Karen. “Because we’re an energetic, ‘get out and do it’ kind of family! This was a way for us to ride together and ride to school instead of having to drive all the time or push Arran in the wheelchair. It’s just so positive and opens up a lot of doors.”
There have been many benefits from cycling.
“What it’s meant is that Arran can grip and lift a pair of walking sticks to walk, rather than the walking frame and can now hand me his plate from the table. He can even climb the stairs.
“For school next year they don’t have to put in ramps now, he can hold the railing or someone’s hand and do it himself.”
Sister Roxy is thrilled to be riding with her brother.
“It normalises childhood for them because that’s what other siblings do, she’s not pushing his wheelchair, she’s cycling beside him.”
Arran is well known around the neighbourhood for his special bike.
“You can hear him squeal with delight and the whole street knows he’s coming, it’s just the most glorious sound.”