Week-long Camp Strips Training Wheels

9 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Friday, July 23 2010 Jul 23, 2010 Friday, July 23, 2010 10:10:04 PM CDT July 23, 2010 in News

COLUMBIA - Children with disabilities took to the wheels this week in a camp design at shedding training wheels and inhibitions. The "Lose the Training Wheels" program ended Friday after five days of riding instruction for kids.  The program is a national effort to help increase bicycle use.

For 12-year-old Dan Nemec, riding a bike hasn't come easy. Dan was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth. His disability has weakened him and left him with low muscle tone

"It kind of makes bike riding maybe a little more difficult," said Mary Nemec, Dan's mother.

But Mary Nemec said bike riding is important because it helps Dan build strength.

Dan was one of many participants in "Lose The Training Wheels" camp all week.

Columbia group PedNet helped find sponsors to fund the program. Riders begin on a custom bike with a rolling pin-looking system to help them learn to ride by themselves quicker. And by the end of the week, most of them are able to ride a bike on their own.

"The bike teaches the nervous system. As the child is forcing the bike to turn, it will come back to center uh through the mechanics, so the nervous system is learning through the motion," said bicycle tech Mark Kimsey. 

PedNet hopes to bring the workshop back again next summer.

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