Bike camp helps kids with special needs learn to ride

MERIDIAN -- Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for many people. But, for kids with special needs, it may not happen.

A local group is making sure it does, with the help of adaptive cycles. The ICAN Bike Camp is hosted by the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association.

The TVDSA hosts the camp, we do all the admin tasks like finding the venue, finding the riders, finding the volunteers for the camp, said Camp Director Paul Auger. But we are partnered with a national organization called ICAN Shine.

ICAN Shine staff members bring the specialized equipment and help with the training during the week long camp.

100 local volunteers are there to assist.

Participants learn to ride using an adapted bicycle with a wide roller for the back wheel. Over time the wheel becomes more tapered, simulating a traditional bicycle.

That helps them learn to ride gradually.

By the end of camp, the goal is to have them riding their own bikes.

Aaron Isaacson is thrilled to see his daughter Kylie on a bike.

I am kind of amazed, she was always very hesitant to get on a bike, Isaacson said. Wondering why I couldn't accomplish that. But I see how they did it and it's really unique, so I feel good about bringing her.

As they get older in life, often people with special needs may not be able to drive, so this provides a mode of transportation for them they will have for a lifetime, Auger said.

Kylie will soon be ready for family bike rides, something her dad is looking forward to.

I think it's going to make a big difference in her life, Isaacson said.

Thirty-three of the 40 riders who took part in the camp can now ride independently. The group is hoping to bring the camp back next year too.

To learn more about the Treasure Valley ICan Bike Camp or to donate, contact Paul Auger at or (208)559-2753.


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