Mike Selep - FVRSA - Lose the Training Wheels


Member Mike Selep and guest Heather Richardson presented the results of their 3rd annual "Lose The Training Wheels" program.


Fox Valley Special Recreation Association Member Mike Selep and guest Heather Richardson presented the results of their 3rd annual "Lose The Training Wheels" program. The idea is simple - train, enable, and encourage the disabled to ride regular two-wheeled bikes without training wheels.

Three-wheel bikes are available, but they are inferior. They're expensive, bulky (can't just toss one on the car's bike rack with all the other bikes) and neither as fast nor as maneuverable as a regular, 2-wheel bike.

When a disabled person masters riding a 2- wheel bike, it gives them confidence, makes a positive change in family dynamics ('cause now the whole family can ride together), helps physical fitness, and sometimes enables getting to work or otherwise being independent from others for transportation.

Training the disabled to ride a 2-wheel bike is a little different. A company called ICanShine specializes in this. The FVSRA works with ICanShine to offer these annual training workshops. This year the target was to train 32 participants, but enrollment was slow at first. In the end 23 signed up, 5 to 6 of them from the immediate service area. Others came from New Lenox, Northbrook, Vernon Hills, Crown Point Indiana, and Cincinnati Ohio. That the event got plenty of press, helped with this. 

The ICanShine staff travel all over the country doing this, and have specially adapted bikes that make learning to ride easier at first, such as bikes with long horizontal rollers in back, rather than a regular wheel. Having the Vaughn Athletic Center available this year was a real plus - it enabled long straight rides; better than the short distances normally found in smaller gyms. On the fourth day of training the participants rode outdoors. 20 of the 23 succeeded in learning to ride - the others will get more help. 

Families and the participants themselves were very encouraged and delighted with the outcome. Some participants that came in knowing that they would fail, and hating the whole idea, instead succeeded and were very, very happy with their new competence.


Club member Mike Selep and guest Heather Richardson
Mission: Enrich the lives of the disabled by providing them recreation services