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iCan Bike rolling into Fulton

iCan Bike rolling into Fulton

May 3rd, 2019 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

iCan Bike Camp volunteers and parents cheer as Matthew Hoover, 8, makes his first laps of the outdoor course in 2017. iCan Shine employee Amy Casale helps him steer and stay steady. This year's camp is June 17-21.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

It's always a joyful moment when a child rides their first few wobbly feet on a bicycle.

It's even more so when, due to disability or other challenges, the child's parents weren't sure it would be possible.

"I can remember how proud I was of my oldest daughter when I saw her going down the street," said Nancy Hanson, who runs Fulton's iCan Bike Camp. "We do that 35 times in one week."

iCan Bike Camp is coming up June 17-21 at 54 Country in Fulton. Six spots are still available. Participants should be at least 8 years old and face some barrier to learning to ride. That could be anything from anxiety to poor motor skills to a physical disability. The weight limit is 220 pounds and riders must be able to wear a helmet, walk or sidestep and attend all five days of camp.

There are five sessions per day; each session has room for seven riders. On day one, riders use a bike with a weighted back wheel for stability.

"As they get a little more confident, we send them to get a drink and we make that weight a little bit lighter," Hanson said.

Day two is "Tandem Tuesday," where riders pair up with a volunteer to ride a tandem bike.

"They get to feel what it's like to go fast," Hanson said.

Many riders are on two wheels by the end of Thursday, some with extra help from a stabilizing handle.

"There's no competition," Hanson said. "Everyone sees everyone succeeding. We have about 85 percent that are independent riders by the end of the week."

Riders who may never be fully independent are welcome as well. Camp is a great opportunity to socialize and bike riding is excellent physical therapy, she said.

National charity iCan Shine provides adaptive riding equipment and personnel who help train the volunteers. Hanson said Fulton's iCan Bike Camp is the only one in Central Missouri and one of very few in small towns.

"The way the whole city of Fulton runs this camp makes an impression on the volunteers," Hanson added.

Right now, she's encouraging Callaway County residents to register. So far, only four riders are from within the county. Registration costs $150, but that fee can be waived or reduced for families who can't afford it. Hanson also collects donated new bikes for riders who don't have and can't afford them.

Volunteer sign ups begin soon, she added.

"If you have a teen at home who can run and keep up with a 10-year-old learning to ride a bike, it'd be great if you could send them," she said.

There are plenty of roles available for volunteers who aren't quite that speedy, too.

To contact Hanson or learn more about iCan Bike Camp, visit facebook.com/icanbikefulton.