Family bike rides are an integral part of life in Canada yet many kids we serve are not able to participate because they don't have a bike and they don't know how to ride one.
The Try-A-Bike event offers kids and youth with special needs an opportunity to try out a bike and give parents some ideas about what bike they may want to purchase in the future.
CTN’s most recent Try-A-Bike event took place in June at the Lampman Lane Community Centre in partnership with Barrie Parks and Recreation who provided us with free space and staff support.
Our other partners included Laura Hunter’s STEPS Program, All Sports All People, Motion Specialties and several CTN parent volunteers. There were approximately twenty different bikes available for kids and youth to try which included a variety of adaptive trikes, recumbent bikes (a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position) and Laura Hunters specialized 'fat tire' two-wheeled bikes. Literature about the bikes was provided to families as well as potential funding sources.
Twenty-two families attended the event and the response was extremely positive. With the right adaptations, all the participants had some success in riding a bike.
All families reported that they had a better understanding of what type of bike their child could ride. Families felt hopeful that they could find a bike to purchase that would allow them to have future family outings!
How the Bikes Made a Difference to our CTN Children and Youth (and their families)!
Fitness - One young friend has been using an arm-propelled bike which he has outgrown. Mom was quite sure he would not have the strength to pedal a bike. Initially the Local Team Facilitator was wondering whether he would be able to as well. With some adult assistance, verbal and touch prompts, within about half an hour he was independently pedaling a three-wheel bike and steering as well! Mom was thrilled that this would be a way to exercise and strengthen his legs and he was thrilled that he could pedal!
Fun - One young lady came in very hesitant to even get on a bike. She had mastered using a tricycle when she was young. However, once she outgrew the tricycle, there was nothing available for her. Mom reported that they had tried two-wheel biking many times, without success. With some encouragement, she tried and quickly mastered an adult three-wheeler. She was even independently successful on one of the adapted two-wheelers. She ran across the room to get the attention of her physiotherapist, then climbed on and demonstrated her success - after which she promptly jumped off, jumped up and down and shouted "I did it, I did it!.”
Family - One of the families talked about how biking was an important family activity that they participated in, but they had to set it aside. They were looking forward to starting up family bike rides!
Friends - Many of the youth came in discouraged and very hesitant to try a bike. This is completely understandable, as often they have tried to learn to pedal a two-wheeled bike repeatedly without success. Their faces lit up as they realized they were not the only one - that all the kids and youth in the room had difficulty with biking - and that they could be successful with the right bike.
Function - With the right adaptations in place, every single child/youth had success. Every single one! All families walked away with big smiles on their faces. Several parents left in happy tears.
Future - In a busy room with lots of excitement each family checked in with the Local Team Facilitator All the parents were asked if they were able to get the information they came for...did they know their next steps? Each one gave a resounding yes!
NEW: If you are interested in trying and borrowing a Freedom Concept Adaptive Bike over the summer, contact your therapist or Local Team Facilitator to arrange a free loan from CTN. Check out the CTN calendar for upcoming inclusive sport opportunities in the fall.