TAMPA, Fla. — 75 children with various disabilities attended a week-long bike camp in the University Area of Tampa. They used bikes retrofitted with special wheels to make it easier for them to get the hang of riding a two-wheel bicycle.
“It brings tears to my eyes because your kids are left out of a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff and this is one thing that they get included in,” said Sean Bates, father of two little girls with disabilities participating in the camp.
Seeing his little two little girls learning to conquer the skill of riding a bike one pedal at a time makes him emotional.
“It’s a fantastic program. I actually videotaped from day one to day five and it goes from my daughter barely being able to ride a bike or sit on it, to actually peddling on her own and almost riding without any help,” said Bates.
He said they look forward to coming to bike came every day.
“They smile every day when they come here. They’re smiling when they leave and if you watch when they get going a little faster, they get all excited about it,” said Bates
Each child received 75 minutes of one-on-one training with experts and volunteers.
“It’s been really interesting seeing, like, progress and stuff,” said Timothy Winston, one of the volunteers.
Timothy is 14 years old and could be doing anything else, but he wanted to make a difference in his community.
“You’ve grown up being able to do all of these things and you don’t think much about it and these people can’t do that as easily. So, having a hand is, like, oh, okay, I’m making a difference in this person’s life,” said Timothy.
This bike camp is free thanks to several local organizations that help to fund it, and they are hoping to bring it back next year for the fourth year.
“Just showing them that they can do anything. I like to tell people, 'we’re not just teaching them to ride a bike this week. We’re teaching them to conquer life.' The confidence that they’re going to gather here at bike camp, they’ll be able to take anywhere in life,” said Kelly Barns with iCan Shine, the company that provided the retrofitted bikes.