Our son Charlie received his first tricycle from Rifton 10 years ago, and since then, as he has grown, he has had two others. Charlie is a “sports-oriented” teenager, and since his ability to walk is limited, he depends on his Rifton tricycle to keep him up-to-speed and active like his peers. At 17 years old, he is a “go-getter” and participates in everything from his high school prom to the Special Olympics and horse riding. He has Mowat-Wilson syndrome that has affected his speech and motor development.
Charlie loves the Large Rifton trike (R140, formerly the Wrangler), and every day after school he goes out for a ride. With a basket on the back of the tricycle to carry things and a clip on the front to hold his bag of potato chips (to eat while riding), Charlie is all set. And I forgot to mention the horn we attached! An aide accompanies him, and they are often gone for over an hour. Sometimes they go to the lake for lunch and sometimes they just go! After so many years of using the tricycle, Charlie has become very adept at maneuvering it and can even complete three-point turns.
With the tricycle everything is changed. Charlie is in his element. He is in control and it gives him a sense of independence and freedom from a body that does not otherwise let him go as fast and as far as he wants! He is doing something he loves and that keeps him focused. His whole body works to propel the tricycle, and by the end of the day he is tired and ready for a good night’s sleep! Before, Charlie never slept through the night, and we tried everything to tire him out, but nothing worked. Now, with so much activity during the day Charlie sleeps better at nights.
There is so much to tell about the benefits of the Rifton tricycle. Before we got the first bike, Charlie had trouble with the alignment of his hips, and we thought he might need surgery to correct the problem. When Charlie began riding the tricycle, his strength and motion increased to a point where his hips no longer came out of their sockets, and we no longer had to worry about invasive surgery and the complications that accompany it.
As a family, we do our best to treat Charlie like a normal teenager, but sometimes this is difficult when other people stare at him because of his differences. The bike has been an amazing icebreaker in these encounters. People stop to ask about the bike and this gives Charlie a chance to interact and have meaningful contacts with people outside the family. Of course, we tell them about Rifton!
Because the Large trike is perfect for Charlie’s needs, it goes with us everywhere. We have an adapted bike rack for the back of our minivan. This holds the bike perfectly.
With our recent move from New York to North Carolina, we depend on the bike even more since we have not been able to get private therapy for Charlie. And the guide bar helps Charlie up the North Carolina hills! Thank you Rifton!
Mike & Ann