EAST MOLINE, Ill. — The I-Can Shine Bike camp returned this week to the Quad Cities after a three year hiatus, following the pandemic.
The camp is put on by the Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities and I-Can Shine, a non-profit organization with the goal of teaching children with disabilities how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle.
"For some of these kids, they may never ever get a driver's license," CTCTC Vice President for Development Chris Van Speybroeck said. "Learning to ride a bike and being able to ride a bike can [teach] independence."
The organizations enlisted almost 100 volunteers to help more than 30 children ride a bicycle, according to Van Speybroeck. Registration was $35 but he said if cost was an issue, the camp waived the fee.
A special device called a roller was utilized to scaffold the experience to each rider's experience level. The roller is similar in size and shape to a 10lb. dumbbell. Volunteers can switch one end of the roller to a different size and weight, making it harder or easier for a rider to balance themselves.
For Kaylee Knight, 11, of Orion, this is something that has helped her to ride a bicycle. When the camp started on Monday, she said she was scared of two-wheeled bikes, but is now much more comfortable with it, albeit still learning.
"I felt good inside [today] because I've never rode a two-wheeler bike," Kaylee said. "I've always had to ride a three-wheeler bike because I was always scared."
Kaylee was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a year old, according to her father, Donny Knight, 48, of Orion. As a result, she has trouble with her balance meaning she's been fearful of activities that require good balance like riding a bicycle.
"She didn't have a whole lot of confidence riding a bike before trying to ride a two wheeler," Knight said. Kaylee's father, an avid cyclist, said coming to this camp was something he suggested to her and she agreed.
"How they do this program and everything, it's helped her tremendously with her balance [and] her confidence. It's great to see your child, [who is] afraid of doing something and then [seeing them] being able to conquer that fear."
The camp ends Friday, June 9.