What is Bike Now!?
This week long summer camp is open to individuals 8 years and older. It entails a 75 minute session each day, with specialized instruction and adaptive equipment designed to teach participants to ride a two-wheeled bike independently. This camp is geared toward anyone who may experience physical, sensory or cognitive difficulties making traditional methods of learning to ride challenging.
MCT’s Bike Now! came about from the highly successful Bike First! program established in Portland, Oregon by Ann Donaca-Sullivan with the Northwest Downs Syndrome Association. Ann was inspired by her own son’s struggle to learn to ride, and is one of the two founding organizers of Bike First!.
Typically-developing children learn to ride a bicycle with help from their family and friends. Unfortunately, most individuals with disabilities who try this route are unsuccessful.
Through careful research into the elemental physics of bicycle riding, Dennis Blong and his team designed and built a unique type of adapted bike that enables the rider and bike to function together as a system. His new design uses air cylinders to gently cushion the rider while keeping the rider safely upright. As the rider’s skill develops over the course of the week, we gradually reduce the air pressure until the rider is on his/her own. Our bike mechanic and floor director make the necessary adjustments and guide the riders as they progress.This program works with youngsters and adults who experience difficulty getting past training wheels and onto conventional two-wheelers.
Here at Medford Children’s Therapy, Rebbecah Bieri, one of our Occupational Therapists, wanted to bring this program to the Rogue Valley. She connected with Ann at Bike First! who quickly responded to us and helped make this a reality. With her help we launched our first bike camp in 2015, and what a success it was!
Due to its success we plan to make this an annual event. The costs do run high, from renting the fleet of custom bikes, paying for food and housing for the Bike First! crew and bike mechanic who will bring in the specially adapted bikes, to prizes for the participants, feeding the volunteers and more. If you want to be a sponsor or just donate to Bike Now! it will ensure we are able to continue this program year after year in our community
Ready to sign up or learn more on how you can help us out?
Bike mechanic Walt Custer explains the technology behind Bike First/Bike Now!
Read more about Portland’s Bike First here