Adaptive bikes offer new freedom to kids with special needs
Published Sunday, March 6, 2016 6:33PM MST Last Updated Sunday, March 6, 2016 6:43PM MST
Over 100 children with various special needs were fitted with customized bikes in Spruce Grove on Sunday.
You Can Ride 2, an Edmonton non-profit organization, offers a range of adaptive bikes to rent for use throughout the summer.
For Maggie Slessor, who has cerebral palsy and can’t ride a typical bike, the best part is being able to ride by herself.
“It’s amazing. The more that she can move and exercise it’s good for her muscles, it’s good for her health, it’s good for her mental health,” said Doreen Slessor, Maggie’s mom. “It’s [also] good for her self-esteem to be doing something the other kids are doing.”
According to Doreen, with modifications a suitable bike for her daughter would cost in the neighbourhood of $1,500.
“We aren’t going to be able to buy [that type of bike] every two years because Maggie’s growing,” she explained.
The program, now in its fourth year of operation, helps ease that financial weight by allowing parents to rent and return the bikes in the fall.
According to occupational therapist, Melinda Oakman, modifications range from foot plates to back rests.
“When you see the smile on their face, that ‘hey, I can do this. I’ve got a bike and I don’t maybe need mom and dad to help me,’ that says it all,” Oakman said.
With files from Amanda Anderson