Redmond program helps disabled kids ride bikes

Redmond program helps disabled kids ride bikes

REDMOND, Ore. - It may look like just another PE class in Redmond. But for some kids, riding bikes around the track is a big deal.

"It's amazing, because they don't get this kind of opportunity at all," said one mother, Jennifer Summerton.

It's awesome for the parents, even better for their kids.

Every Wednesday during May, more than a dozen youngsters with physical and mental disabilities get a chance to do something "normal"-- learn to ride a bike.

"It started because there was a mom, and I asked if there was anything I could do to help with her son with gross motor skills. and she said, 'Teach him how to ride a bike' -- and I thought, 'Oh, my!'," recalled Amy Nickell, an adaptive PE teacher for the Redmond School District.

One kid blossomed into 16.

From checking the chain to the proper turn signals, students learn not only how to ride, they learn the rules of the road.

"This gives the students a mode of transportation," Nickell said, "because a lot of our kids won't be able to drive a car. They rely on the bus system or friends and family, so this gives them the independence that they really strive to have."

No lack of cheers and smiles here.

For these kids, each spin around the trail is one step closer to conquering their fear.

"My favorite part is that I finally faced my fears. I have no problems riding a bike any more, and I feel confident -- and my parents are very proud of this," said Ian Swift, a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder who has tried to ride a bike in the past and has been unsuccessful -- until now.

The bike gear is all donated, thanks to local partners, including Redmond Area Parks & Recreation, High Desert Education Service District, Wheel Fun Rentals and many volunteers.

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