JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The North Florida School of Special Education is hosting the iCan Bike summer camp this week, and on Friday, more than two dozen students will graduate with a new skill.
Kaidale Owings, 10, is one of the 25 students taking part in the five-day camp teaching them to ride a two-wheel bicycle.
“He’s doing amazing. I’m so proud of him,” said Kaitlin Owings, his mother.
She said she’s tried to teach him to ride a bike before, but it wasn’t until this camp that he’s really gotten the hang of it.
Part of that is the unique adaptive approach iCan Bike uses to teach students to ride. They don’t use training wheels. Instead, they learn on adaptive “roller” bikes inside a gym.
As the days go along, it gets more difficult with the level of assistance reduced until eventually they master the basics and get to put their skills to the test on two wheels on an outdoor course.
Kelly Barns, with iCan Shine, said what these students are learning is more than just riding a bike.
“Not only are we teaching them to ride a bike here at camp, we’re teaching them to conquer life, to go home learning that ‘I can learn something new, I am not afraid, I am not scared.’ ‘I can ride a bike’ transitions to so many other aspects of their life,” Barns said.
Kaitlin Owings said, “Not only do they get the freedom of having transportation that they may not have otherwise, ut they get confidence and skills they never knew they had.”
Kaitlin Owings said she’s incredibly impressed with the progress she’s seen her son make this week — he’s now riding around on his own on two wheels.
“So this going to be amazing to give him that independence and to be able to do his own thing independently,” she said.
The final day of the camp is family bike Friday when the students will get to try out the bikes they’ll be riding at home once camp is over and they’ll also receive a graduation certificate and medal.