Monday, August 11, 2008

Six Miles on a Bike?

Gus has been doing really well on his bike since taking off the training wheels. He's gotten better at starting himself off and isn't crashing into things to stop himself as much. So my husband and I have talked about maybe joining a local cycling club and possibly joining them for a family ride in September.

The ride would be six miles along a trail, no traffic. Since it is family-centered, I doubt it will be very hilly. I'm pretty sure that Gus could handle it. I remember a few years ago when he was around three, we did an autism walk that was two miles. He ran the last quarter mile and then went on to spend the rest of the afternoon in a bouncy castle. I think he's got the energy and stamina to go six miles on a bike.

My one concern would be the other riders. He's not always mindful of his surroundings and has difficulty navigating others' personal space (part of the sensory difficulties), but I think I may have a strategy brewing. If the four of us ride, if we ride behind the kids with them single file, each of use can flank each of them. I'll have to contact the organization and ask some questions about the expected number of participants and so forth, but if he was able to do a walk among thousands of people at three, I'm confident that he can handle this. And I think he'd enjoy it in addition to it providing him with something to feel good about.

He needs something to feel good about, especially now when it seems he's starting to notice his differences. I was reading Gus a story the other night and the phrase 'odd man out' was mentioned. He asked me what odd meant. I was a little apprehensive about the question, but I answered, explaining that it could have to do with numbers that didn't divide evenly or it could mean different or unusual.

His response: "I'm odd."

I replied that everyone is different and that he was awesome. He wasn't exactly upset, just a sort of resigned. But he went to sleep and was fine the next morning. So I think now would be a great time for him to feel capable and successful. Maybe a bike ride will go a little way toward that end.

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