GWINNETT COUNTY (CBS46) – Riding a bike is a childhood rite of passage.
But many kids with disabilities never get the chance.
Research shows fewer than 20% of people with autism, and 10% of people with Down Syndrome learn how to ride a bike.
But iCan Bike Gwinnett is changing that.
After just a couple of days, Daniel Wondaferew, 18, is riding his own two-wheel bike.
“Just to the best you can,” he said. “Just try to practice my balancing skills.”
Wondaferew said he like being ride quickly.
“It makes you feel faster than walking,” he said.
About 35 campers participated in iCan Bike’s weeklong program – and by the fifth day the hope is the majority of kids will be riding on their own two wheels.
Volunteer Greg Stewart has been circling the gym with Daniel every day – each one a small victory.
“Every time that we're changing the wheels and it gets a little more wobbly, he conquers it really quick,” Steward said. “So it's just watching him excel really quickly.”
The iCan Bike program uses adapted bikes with specialized roller wheels that gradually increase in size to challenge a rider until they feel steady on their own, said floor supervisor, Eryka Vincent.
The program has an 80% success rate.
“Learning that balance is always hard. That's why these roller bikes are outstandingly amazing,” she said. “They teach that balance for them so that parents can kind of sit back chill out watch their kid excel on a roller bike.”
But it's more than just progress.
“Tons of smiles for sure. Lots of confidence. Kids are feeling good about themselves which is great,” said Dan Cheney.
Cheney and his wife, Stacey are hosting the camp through their non-profit, The Guide Project Inc.
“This is going to help us in our family outings but also just connect them with the neighborhood kids and also to be able to do those things other kids are doing,” he said.
The couple started the organization, after finding it difficult to find activities and programs for their 10-year-old son Myles.
“We saw the difference in terms of opportunities that were available to the two of them,” said Stacey. “And we just want them to both be able to have those same life experiences, whether it's something like riding a bike or something bigger.”
For more events hosted by The Guide Project Inc., click here.