Saturday, July 16, 2011

Do you remember when you learned to ride a bicycle?

Touring program helps those with Down syndrome ride bikes

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Posted on July 14, 2011 at 6:59 PM
Updated Thursday, Jul 14 at 7:18 PM
ARLINGTON - Most of us remember that first successful bike ride. But, that moment of freedom escapes many people with Down syndrome who have poor balance and low muscle tone.

That's why a charity is touring the country, bringing specially designed bikes that teach those children what some never thought they would learn.
Sheridan Huskey, 14, has tried over and over to do what she saw all of her friends doing, getting on a bike and flying on the sidewalks. Her previous attempts to ride a bike always ended in tears.

"At the time, she wanted to look down and would get very frustrated because she couldn't go very far," said Renee Huskey, Sheridan's mother.

Sheridan has Down syndrome, making the challenge greater.

This week, Huskey enrolled her daughter in "Lose the Training Wheels" in Arlington.

The clinic tours the country, teaching children and adults with Down syndrome to ride bikes. Some children with other challenges are included as well.

"They have balance and coordination issues, so it makes it more difficult," said Jennifer Mearns, with Lose the Training Wheels. "But, the design of the bike helps them ease into it."

The bicycles have cylinders that stabilize the bike. As the rider gets better at balancing, they graduate to smaller and smaller cylinders.

"We're on the last stage of passing this course, all right Sheridan?" said one of the volunteers helping Sheridan.

After nearly four hours of coaching by a team of volunteers, Sheridan was ready to give a regular bike a try.

She pushed off, sailing. Gradually, the volunteers let go.

"She did not stop; she was on fire," the volunteer said.

"Awesome," Sheridan said at the end of the ride. "I had a good day."

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Be gentle.


  1. Hi,
    I found your blog recently and love reading it! I have an older brother with Downs and was especially interested in seeing this post because my brother participated in this program last year and it was awesome!! I created a video with all of the pictures that I took throughout the week of the program and wanted to share it with you...


  2. Amanda,

    What a great post you wrote about your brother! Thank you for sharing. I loved thed video.

    Be gentle,


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