INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Riding bikes during the summer is something many people take for granted but, for some kids with disabilities, it’s not as simple as jumping on and taking off.
That’s where the iCan Bike camp can help.
Learning to ride a bike is a childhood rite of passage, but Gabriel Nolting thinks it’s going to take a bit more practice.
“He’s a little weaker in his motor abilities so he needs more help with balance. He’s very strong as far as his legs, but it’s just his balance he needs more help,” said his mother, Amanda Nolting.
She said Gabriel, like most kids, loves to ride bikes, but his bike at home has training wheels so he’s not quite able to ride around the neighborhood with friends or his sister.
“He needed something to help build his confidence up and when he came here yesterday he hopped on and was just flying around.”
The iCan Bike camp is done in partnership with Easterseals Crossroads for 40 youths. They have various ability levels that create challenges for riding a bike. For roughly the last 10 years, this camp has changed that for countless young people.
“A lot of their friends are riding bikes, families riding bikes, and it’s such a family-friendly experience to be able to get on the bikes and go to the ice-cream shop or ride around town with your buddy,” said John Kelly with Easterseals Crossroads.
It’s the specialized roller wheel on the bikes that helps move kids through the different stages of learning when it comes to balance and steering. The volunteers have to have the energy to keep up, often running alongside the bicyclists.
“We could not do it without the tons of volunteers that are here,” Kelly said.
By the end of Day 5, the bicyclists move up to a two-wheel bike to ride on their own.
Amanda Nolting said when that day comes she may never be able to get Gabriel off his bike, but she’s OK with that.