Camp Helping Kids With Special Needs Master Riding Bikes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Most people assume that all kids know how to ride a bike, but that’s not always true.

A local summer camp is helping kids with special needs master the skill.

“I am so excited about this. This has built so much confidence with Noah. He wouldn’t step on a bike and the fact that he even wanted to come back here today was just amazing. They are doing a great job,” Kelly Hartman said.

Kelly’s 9-year-old son, Noah, is part of the third annual iBike@QV Camp.

iBike has 13 fleets across the United States and Canada. Each fleet has 26 bikes, including adaptive bikes with a special roller instead of training wheels.

“In one week, we take them from a roller to a two-wheeled bike while a lot of people stay on training wheels for months and years on end,” bike technician Kelly Barns said.

Beth McQueen drives an hour from Cabot for her son, Caleb, to ride.

“Caleb, last summer, really wanted to learn to ride. It was like a rite of passage. His dad is an avid cyclist and so this will make it fun for the whole family,” McQueen said.

Volunteers say they get more than they give.

“Within minutes, they were saying, ‘We love you,’ and giving us hugs and it’s just a great feeling,” Jenna DiLoreto said.

“It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever done, and I have to say this is my favorite week of the summer. I look forward to this every single year,” Alexis Lavrich said.

Still their reward is a far cry from what the kids accomplish.

It’s more than just learning how to ride a bike. At the end of the week, every one of the 20 kids in this program gets to take one of the bikes home, thanks to Target.

“They lack a little bit of that confidence so the fact that he jumps on that bike and he’s having that healthy competition with the other kids to motivate each other. It’s just breathtaking. And I cannot wait to see at the end of the week where this goes,” Hartman said.

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