I Can Bike Success

13 Aug

The I Can Bike camp ended Friday, and as advertised, most of the campers could ride a regular two-wheel bike on their own! If you’ve ever taught anyone how to ride a bike you know what an astonishing accomplishment that is.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I Can Bike is a national program designed to teach individuals with disabilities the skills to ride a bike independently. Their approach is solid, using a variety of different sized rollers in place of wheels/training wheels they teach the skills necessary to ride a bike. As a person’s skill develops they move to a smaller roller, allowing for more movement of the bike thus mimicking the feel and movement of a two-wheeled bike.

For instance my rider, Parker, Monday used the full size roller; on Tuesday he progressed to the smaller roller and most importantly rode on the front of a tandem with one of the instructors. This gave the instructor a good idea of Parker’s biking abilities and any areas he might need to work on – like steering or leaning.

On Wednesday Parker and the other riders made a big jump in their biking ability. There were way fewer starts and stops and more fluid pedaling and better turning. They were also faster which meant more running for volunteers to keep up with them!

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Thursday is known as launch day – the day the rollers come off and participants ride a regular two-wheel bike and use a hand brake for the first time – outside. Up to this point we were inside in the gym. I wasn’t able to be there on Thursday unfortunately so I missed the launch, but from what I heard they primarily worked on braking and using either a power start (using the traditional foot on upturned pedal to start) or a frog start which is both feet on the ground pushing off for a count of 3 then pedaling.

On Friday Parker graduated from the “frog start” to the “power start” and as the session went on his braking and pedaling became smoother. His balance and turning also improved as did the speed in which he rode – and for volunteers (and Parker’s dad) the difficulty in running to keep up grew exponentially!

Watching Parker and the other campers biking around the parking lot was incredible. The transformation that took place over 5 days was nothing short of amazing and to be a part of it was something special.

Besides being a great guy, Parker had a very cool bike, retro style with a crimson and cream color scheme going on.

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Although this was Oklahoma City’s first I Can Bike camp, the plan is to do it again next year. I plan to volunteer again and encourage you to consider it. You can find more information here.

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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