iCan Bike program uses bikes to teach independence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This week the gym in the Bartlett Municipal Center was converted to a bike track for people with disablities like Down Syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsey.

“iCan Bike” is a national program in which Memphis 25 campers are taking part.

They started Monday with a rolling pin like mechanism on the bikes to get them accustomed to riding and pedaling.

“As the week progresses, that rolling pin tapers upward and gives them more movement and feel of what it’s like to balance.”

On Tandem Tuesday, they got on a bike with an instructor to boost their confidence as they get ready to ride on their own.

“By Wednesday, kids will be launching on to two wheels.”

Shameka Outlaw is one of the volunteer spotters for “iCan bike,” and is working with Wyatt and is determined to help him succeed, “He said to me a few minutes ago, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this.’ It’s just, it’s almost an unbelievable feeling that comes over you knowing you’re helping someone achieve a goal they didn’t think they could do.”

Camp goers range in age from 8 to 20.

The daily sessions are about an hour and 15 minutes, so they learn quickly.

For some of the kids, putting a helmet on their head might be all they want to do and there’s no pressure all, but typically when they see other kids participating they want to jump in.

Becky Halvorson’s son Ben completed the “Ican bike” camp in 2011.

He loves being able to ride with his family.

“We sometimes go the schools and sometimes in the neighborhood and all that,” Ben told us.

Riding a bike is a rite of passage for many children.

Thanks to “iCan Bike” a lot more children will experience that self confidence and the freedom to explore their world independently.

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