Learning to ride a two wheel bicycle is an unforgettable milestone of childhood development. It highlights a moment where the anxiety of learning a complex physical activity is overcome and replaced with a sense of confidence and empowerment. Cycling also provides a foundation for social participation and connectivity to the surrounding community and environment. However, some children have abilities that make learning how to ride a bicycle a different kind of challenge. This thesis project sets out to bridge the gap between children with upper limb differences and the standard geometries and reach affordances of typical children's two wheel bicycles. A need was identified for a universal bicycle attachment that could be easily adjusted and resized for an individual child, particularly a young girl with ulnar club hand. A solution was pursued that properly locates the control points allowing a child to learn the complex motor skills of cycling while promoting an optimal trunk and head posture. The resulting solution is an integrated kit of components, that is easy to install, intuitive to use, and can be tuned to specific user requirements. It enables and encourages cycling for children with limb differences. Additionally, the project questions the label of "disability" and argues that designing for one individual can result in an inclusive design that changes social perceptions surrounding accessibility.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Cycling for children--Equipment and supplies--Design and construction; Self-help devices for people with disabilities--Design and construction; Physical education for people with disabilities
Industrial Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CIAS)
Patton, Wilson S., "Learning to Ride: Developing an Assistive Device for Two Wheel Bicycling" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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