Andrea’s Journey to biking as told by her mother, Rori:
“For 10 years, we had cycled together as a family. We enjoyed being together and being outdoors. Andrea always liked being with everyone else as she pedaled along on the back of our tandem bike. We tried to teach Andrea to ride a bike on her own when she was young but she didn’t seem to want to learn and could not stay focused. We thought we had resolved the issue by riding a tandem.
Then we heard a speaker at an auction tell about her son learning to ride a bicycle at iCan Bike in Portland, Oregon. Within a month, there was an article in the Cascade Bike Club newsletter calling for volunteers for the first iCan Bike Seattle. We decided to give it a try and signed her up. We were very concerned that Andrea would not be able to stay focused enough to actually ride by herself.
We arrived at the first session with trepidation but hope. There were two volunteers (angels in running clothes) that were assigned to Andrea. They spent 5 days running around in a large oval, encouraging and assisting Andrea. By Thursday, Andrea was on her own. We were completely amazed. By Friday, she was learning self-starts. We continued the following week at home at the local elementary playground. At two weeks, we took her to a local trail and had our first 5-mile ride with Andrea riding independently. It was a wonderful day.
Andrea now participates in the Special Olympics Cycling program with our local parks and recreation department. She has won many medals and is excited for this year where she can show off her new bike. Andrea loves to go on family rides, and loves being the leader of our pack.
Andrea was 19 years old when she went to iCan Bike Settle in 2011. She is now 21, soon to be 22. I know that biking independently brings a sense of satisfaction to Andrea that she is just like the rest of us. It sure makes it easier to haul bikes since we don’t have to try to fit the tandem on a rack or inside the truck! One of the volunteers that helped Andrea said that she was there to give back since her son learned to ride the year before. I thought that was such a grand idea. Although my son had volunteered the year that Andrea learned to ride, I felt a debt of gratitude to the volunteers, so Andrea and I decided to volunteer the following year. It proved to be a rewarding experience and proved to me how out of shape I really was!”
We know that it takes a bit of physical effort to help our riders become independent. We are proud of Andrea and her great accomplishments, and grateful to Andrea, her brother and mother for returning to iCan Bike Seattle to support other riders to attain the same freedom and joy that Andrea enjoys. Shine on Hadley Family!!!
SHINE ON ANDREA!
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