How Our Bike Program Works
Years of research, months of planning by your local bike camp hosts and hours of volunteer ‘spotting’ by wonderful, concerned people from your community lead to your child attaining confidence to last a lifetime – achieved in just 5 days. At our iCan Bike programs, riders learn to balance, pedal, steer and take off on their own, many in five days or less – a feat parents say is miraculous. We encourage you to read our many testimonials.
We adapt our approach to each individual rider based on the accommodations they may need to benefit the most from our program. Our staff are well-trained and experienced in working with many different types of disabilities and behavioral challenges. We stock all our fleets of bike equipment with ‘tricks of the trade’ motivational tools that we find are often successful to motivate riders to participate and succeed.
Two volunteers are assigned to each rider to serve as their ‘spotters’ providing physical support, motivation and encouragement throughout the week. While all individuals learn at their own pace, some will be ready to ride on two wheels as soon as the third day, and historically approximately 80% of the individuals who participate in iCan Bike ride a two-wheel bicycle independently (at least 75 feet with no assistance) by the end of our five day program. The remaining 20% make tremendous progress towards this goal and leave our programs accompanied by parents and/or siblings trained as ‘spotters’ to pick up where we leave off!
Generally speaking, we try to establish early on at our iCan Bike programs that learning to ride is fun but serious business. We use a ‘kind yet firm’ approach so that riders cooperate with the program protocol. We take a team approach whereby we collaborate with parents for their advice and tips on how to most successfully work through any behavioral difficulties presented by their rider.
Benefits of Riding a Bicycle
Our program works! Success rate of riders independently riding a bicycle (at least 75 feet with no assistance) by the end of our iCan Bike programs is approximately 80% and all riders progress and gain skills during the week benefiting from:
- Increase in self-esteem and confidence spills over into many other aspects of their lives
- Positive changes in family dynamics
- Inclusion opportunities
- Independent transportation
- Recreation improves physical fitness, mental health and overall quality of life
Requirements for Participation
To ensure the safety of our riders and the best use of our limited resources we have established certain criteria that all riders must meet to be eligible to attend an iCan Bike program. The rider must:
- be at least 8 years old (no upper age limit)
- have a disability
- walk without an assistive device (e.g., walker or cane)
- be able to side step swiftly to both sides
- be able to wear a properly fitted bike helmet at all times when on a bicycle
- have a minimum inseam measurement of at least 20” when measured from the floor wearing sneakers
- not exceed 220 lbs.
As you evaluate this program it is important to consider behavior. A person may be physically able to ride a bike, but if their behavior is severely challenging such that they cannot be persuaded to get on the bike and follow instructions, then it is likely this program will not be beneficial. Although we strive to make the experience fun and productive for all riders, individuals with severe behavioral issues may be removed from the program if their actions are detrimental to the overall function of the program or potentially harmful to themselves or others.
Riders Need a Bike
All riders must have an appropriate personal bike available for the iCan Bike program by no later than Thursday (Day #4) of the program. Our goal is to transition all riders to their personal bike towards the latter part of the iCan Bike program such that they are comfortable with the bike they will be riding at home after day #5.
Also, to retain and sharpen their newly learned skill, it is very important that each rider spend at least 15 minutes practicing riding the three days immediately following camp.
Bike and Helmet Videos
Parents may or may not have an appropriate bike or helmet available. The two videos below are designed to help guide parents through the process of identifying a suitable bike and bike helmet for their rider (total video run time is less than 13 minutes):
Parents may need some tips on how to best support their rider before, during and after bike camp. Here are some helpful documents: