With the help of specially-designed roller bikes and a large crew of volunteers, Can Bike Seattle teaches people with disabilities to ride two-wheel bikes.
Can Bike Seattle just finished up a week of lessons in late July.
With the ability to ride comes empowerment, independence and the ability for families to bike together, writes Cascade Bicycle Club’s Anne-Marije Rook:
While the majority of the campers are children, there is no age limit on who qualifies for the camp as the skill they learn is life-changing at any age.
“Learning to ride a conventional bike builds their self-confidence and gives them a chance to be included as they can go on bike rides with their peers and family. It also gives them transportation as some of them may never drive a car,” explained [Director of Can Bike Seattle Konnie] Drews.
The camp’s astonishing success rate is in part due to the use of “rollerbikes”.
From the start of the camp’s first session, campers are put on two-wheel roller bikes, which have a tapered “roller” instead of a rear wheel. The rollers have a wide middle surface for stabilization while the tapered edges teaches riders how to balance and lean into corner. The rollers get narrower as the student’s ability improves, and by end of the week, the student transitions to a regular bike.
“The bikes do a lot of the training,” Drews said. The rest of the training is in the hands of instructors and an incredible community of volunteers.