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Kids and adults with disabilities learned how to ride two-wheeler bikes during week-long camp

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 12:01 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For many, riding a bike is a childhood milestone but for others like nine-year-old Henry Zavora is balance, independence, and confidence.

This week, he conquered the skill of riding a conventional bike. A goal his mom says took some commitment.

“It goes to different places and trails, you can bike at a lot of different places!” said Henry.

“Henry cried, he was so excited,” said Karen Zavora, Henry’s mom. “He had a great time at camp last year and he progressed a lot but he wasn’t quite independent at the end of it. So, we came back this year.”

Henry is not alone, he is one of 22 kids and adults who Friday afternoon graduated from the nineth annual iCan Bike Camp, organized by the Nevada’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (NUCEDD).

“Is a very specialized program, we have a special fleet of bikes that come here, that we teach them on,” said Diana Rovetti, host and organizer.

The weighted rolling pin on the back of the bicycle helps the children gain their balance as they ride with the assistance of the volunteers. With 75 minutes of instruction each day, most of the riders progress from the roller to lighter weights and by the fifth day to two wheels.

“There’s hardly anything that you can teach a kid with a disability to do in five days, where they can master it in five days and so this is just a very rewarding and exciting process,” said Rovetti.

This year, the camp had fewer volunteers and riders.

“Last year we had like 38 kids and this year, we only got 22. Everybody was ready to get out of the house last year and I think this year too, but then we got a little scared again,” said Rovetti, referring to the pandemic.

She adds it was a smaller but mighty group. By the fourth day, all campers where on two-wheels.

The bikes are made available through a partnership with iCan Shine, a non-profit organization that teaches individuals with disabilities to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle.

Henry is now more than excited to say yell “I can bike” and ride around with his little sister, “And my family because mom and dad know how to bike too so we can all bike together to different places.”

The center is now working on a program called ‘Tennis Buddies’ at the Reno Tennis Center for kids and adults with developmental disabilities.

For more information, call (775) 784-4921 or email nced@unr.edu. Also follow their social media.

The center is always looking for donations and volunteers.

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