Camp to Help People With Disabilities Ride a Bike

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

AMES, Iowa -- Riding a bike is a skill many of us take for granted, but for kids and adults with disabilities, pedaling a standard two wheel bike on their own can take some time to learn. A camp could help.

Jumping on two feet is a fairly new skill for nine year old Amy Eyles. Mom Judi Eyles said, "Amy was born with a congenital neurologic disorder called Sturge-Weber Syndrome. Essentially she has malformations in her brain and a birthmark, and it's caused vision issues and a seizure disorder and a lot of developmental delays."

Amy has made tremendous progress with the help of therapy, but riding her new Hello Kitty bike on her own is a skill that's been hard to master. "She's almost 10 and is still working on the tricycle, so it's hard, balance is off," Mrs. Eyles said.

A camp coming to Ames this June could help the elementary student learn. ISU Senior Katie Cook said, “This is the iCan Bike camp. It's a part of the iCan Shine organization, which is a nationwide organization that helps people with disabilities."

The iCan Bike camp is June 1-5 at the All Iowa Attack facility in Ames. It's the first one happening in Iowa. Cook said, "It gives the campers an opportunity to learn a skill a little quicker than sometimes might happen."

Cook started the camp this year with the help of a four student planning committee and several Story County organizations. About 80 volunteers are needed to help 35 campers learn to ride a regular two wheel bike on their own. Cook said, "It's something a lot of us take for granted, how to ride a bicycle, but a lot of people with special needs don't have that opportunity, and so they're able to rely less on others for transportation, especially some of our older riders who might have jobs."

Amy is anxious to learn, as she looks forward to a camp that could provide her with more than just a new skill. Her mom said, "Just being at camp will be fun for her, whether she is successful at learning or not."

Campers need to be eight years or older, have a disability, weigh less than 220 pounds and have a minimum inseam measurement of 20 inches with sneakers. They also need to be able to walk without an assistive device and sidestep to both sides. Contact Katie Cook at kacook@iastate.edu, if you’re interested in participating or volunteering. You can find more information on the group’s Facebook page or www.icanshine.org.

Katie Cook helps Amy Eyles, 9, ride a bike.

Katie Cook helps Amy Eyles, 9, ride a bike.