Remember the exhilaration of learning to ride a bicycle without the training wheels? The feeling of freedom, independence and the big boost of confidence? It’s a rite of passage for many children, one that the founders of Lose the Training Wheels™ bike program wanted children with special needs to experience. Founded as a non-profit in 2007, Lose the Training Wheels now offers 80 camps across the U.S. and Canada.
Using an adapted bicycle, volunteers guide children through the weeklong camp on an adapted bicycle that uses different sized rollers instead of training wheels, eventually removing them altogether. Five days to roller-free cycling!
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“One day they’re riding the adaptive bikes and the next they’re pedaling away on their own. It’s amazing,” says Kelley McCarthy-Kane, who volunteers with the Hoboken Family Alliance, which helped run the camp last summer and will host again this year.
According to the organization, the benefits of learning to ride a two-wheel bicycle include:
- Increase in self esteem & self confidence
- Inclusion opportunities
- Positive change in family dynamics
- Improved quality of life through recreation
- Independent transportation
- Improved physical fitness
“For children with disabilities, riding a bicycle is a gateway to inclusion, independence and acceptance,” says Theresa Howard, Hoboken Family Association’s Director, Children with Special Needs.
This program allows children with special needs the opportunity to say, “Look ma, no training wheels!”
Lose the Training Wheels bike camps are held in spring and throughout the summer. To find out more about where and when the camps are held, check out this organization’s schedule.