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Bicycle Camp Helps Children with Disabilities Keep on Pedaling

At Lose the Training Wheels camp, participants receive instruction on using adapted bikes and techniques

Lose the Training Wheels Inc., a nationally recognized nonprofit organization, brings its innovative style of teaching children with disabilities how to ride a bicycle to Santa Barbara.

People with mental and physical disabilities typically have a more difficult time learning to ride a bike compared with their peers. Lose the Training Wheels’ five-day camp provides each camper with about one hour of instruction each day using a series of adapted bikes and techniques. At the end of the camp, more than 80 percent of campers can successfully ride a conventional bike.

The Down Syndrome Association of Santa Barbara County has partnered with Lose the Training Wheels to help teach local people age 8 or older, including adults.

This is the first year DSASBC has brought the Lose the Training Wheels camp to Santa Barbara. To date, the camp has helped more than 5,000 people learn to ride bicycles without the aid of training wheels, providing the gift of independence, self-esteem, joy and pride of riding a two wheeled bike.

A Bike Rodeo will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 18 to celebrate the program’s graduates. Two riding courses will be set up at the Page Youth Center, supervised and assisted by the Santa Barbara Kiwanis, Optimists and Push America, a service fraternity of 36 college students cycling across the nation to bring awareness and support for individuals with disabilities.

All children and adults with disabilities are invited to participate in the Bike Rodeo. Community members are encouraged to attend to offer cheering and support. Custom-adapted bikes will be available for riding. Barbecue food and beverages available for purchase.

Lose The Training Wheels provides the equipment necessary to conduct the camp, along with professional expertise for technical support, training of staff an local volunteers, and knowledge in terms of how to run a camp and facilitate the participants’ progress.

This year’s camp will feature three one-hour sessions, Monday through Friday, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 14-18 at the Page Youth Center, 4540 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara. Spotters are needed for each session.

Participants who have benefited most from this program are those who are able to walk without assistive devices, are able to sidestep quickly, can function in a social setting and are able and willing to
wear a bike helmet. Most of all, participants should have the desire to “lose the training wheels.” The camp helps increase self confidence, improve quality of life through physical activity, inclusion with able-bodied peers and the ability to participate in a fun family activity.

Click here to download a registration form.

To volunteer, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.681.9165.

Also, join the first-ever Buddy Walk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 19 at Chase Palm Park’s Great Meadow. Click here to register.

— Retta Slay is a Lose the Training Wheels camp director.

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