RIDE LIKE THE WIND
by Margie Watson
What do you do when your five-year-old announces that she
wants to go bike riding with you--and, the five-year-old
happens to be blind? Here is how Margie Watson solved the
My five-year-old daughter, Katie, likes to ride her bike.
That surprises most people, because Katie is blind. My husband
or I walk about ten feet in front of Katie and tell her when
to turn the corner, but otherwise she rides straight ahead on
Last spring, we were getting our bikes out from the
basement, (Wisconsin snow keeps us off of them in the winter),
and Katie told us that she wanted to ride with us and not ride
behind us while we walked. Our first thought was to look into
purchasing a tandem bike.
We learned that we could add on something called a stoker
kit which would make the back seat the right size for a child.
The problem with this idea was that it was expensive--about
Another problem with the tandem bike was that the back-
seat rider would have to pedal at the pace of the front-seat
rider. That would be difficult for a five-year-old child.
Disappointed, we figured that we would have to forego family
bike rides until Katie was big enough for a tandem bike.
Then we heard about a bike called the Allycat Shadow. It
was designed for bike-riding enthusiasts who also happened to
be parents. Essentially, it is a child-sized bike without a
front tire. A bar extends up from the handlebars which is then
attached to an adult's bike just below the seat.
The Allycat Shadow would make our own bike into a
detachable children's tandem. It was the right size for Katie,
and the price was reasonable. We immediately ordered one.
We are thrilled with Katie's new bike. For us it means an
affordable bike for Katie and that we can use the adult bike
we already have. For Katie it means that she can pedal (or not
pedal) at her own pace. And while riding with mom and dad, she
is getting the feel of balancing and learning to turn, as well
as riding much faster.
You can ask Katie how much fun she is having riding her
new bike--that is, if you can catch her.