Teen with high functioning autism and an ebike

mams99

Member
I got an ebike for myself about 2 years ago to use for grocery shopping, tooling around town and to have a second passenger - mostly my son who has high functioning autism.

This site and forum were very helpful when I was deciding on a bike and I ended up with the Pedego Stretch and I LOVE that bike and my son likes riding with me.

Since then, my son has learned to ride a bike and we take short rides together and he's gotten steady and rides well. He's 13 (about to turn 14) and he's tall (over 6 feet and still growing some) and large built - but pretty coordinated for a kid with autism - but probably below average or about average.

I would love to start taking longer rides with him. I have a got a folding ebike I got last year to use for travel/work as the Stretch really cannot be taken anywhere.

I have been hesitant to have my son try the folding ebike as it has a learning curve and I don't want to scare him out of riding! I could let him ride my Stretch too, but when we do bike grocery store hauls, you really need very good stability to manage the bike and he's not quite there yet.

Do you have suggestions on how to help a novice rider on an ebike, especially a TALL one with autism?
 
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ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
How about a Pedego city commuter or Interceptor with the throttle removed so he won’t hit it by accident, or another ebike that’s easy to ride without a throttle? When shopping for my son (who has autism) I first found the bike I wanted him to try. They removed the throttle before we arrived. The Pedego store was a supportive place for him to try the bike. They are used to inexperienced older riders so were very patient. He didn’t like the handlebars so they also swapped those out for him.

You can also have them lower the max assist speed if you think that might help. :)
 

mams99

Member
I told my son about your post and he said “tell them it’s fun!”
How about a Pedego city commuter or Interceptor with the throttle removed so he won’t hit it by accident, or another ebike that’s easy to ride without a throttle? When shopping for my son (who has autism) I first found the bike I wanted him to try. They removed the throttle before we arrived. The Pedego store was a supportive place for him to try the bike. They are used to inexperienced older riders so were very patient. He didn’t like the handlebars so they also swapped those out for him.

You can also have them lower the max assist speed if you think that might help. :)
That will probably be a solution eventually, but not while he's growing and not now as finances got tight a year ago - RIGHT after I bought the folding bike. (I had a stroke caused by a fluke situation with my body and that eventually resulted in me needing to leave my job because my boss was being HORRIBLE as soon as I came back - basically forcing me to quit).
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
I have mixed feelings about this - ebikes are heavier so we need to balance the difficulty recovering a heavier bike following an oops moment vs the reduced core strength many people with asd suffer from. I know my 10 yo loves stealing my emtb from me when he fatigues, and it has extended the range we can ride together, but I feel a LOT more relaxed when he is riding his conventional bike. So the compromise for us is to fit longer cranks and wider bars to " his" conventional bike, and accept that when he gets tired I'm going to be pushing pedals on his conventional bike whilst worrying that he will drop " my" ebike

I'd encourage you to consider the largest diamaeter wheels viable in whatever you choose - on thing I've noticed is the added stability of the larger wheels seems less distracting - I guess if you are already struggling to filter lots of information, having a wheel get flicked around by obstacles must be concerning?
 

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ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
That will probably be a solution eventually, but not while he's growing and not now as finances got tight a year ago
Are there any grant programs in your area for kids with autism? There are some in my area. You might check with your local Autism organization.

Pedego makes the City Commuter in a larger wheel size, so it might be a good choice for your son eventually.

BTW, I went with Pedego for my son because I wanted him to learn to develop a relationship with a shop that can fix his bike, and also to get a bike from a company that had enough of a track record that I could hope that there would be long-term support in terms of parts, etc.

Maybe a good short term solution is just to do as much biking as you can with your son on conventional bikes so he learns how to be a cyclist on bike paths, roads, etc. Having him on a conventional bike will be great exercise for him, and will prevent him from going too fast (at least when he isn't going downhill!) Then, over time, ebiking may turn out to be a great way for him to get to work, etc., and much more liberating and autonomous than other kinds of transportation available for people with disabilities. :)