Summer camp helps kids with disabilities learn to ride bikes
SUWANEE, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - For many kids, mastering how to ride a bike is part of growing up.
Sometimes, you fall.
And, one day, if you stick with it, you fly.
And at 18, Daniel Wondaferew, who is on the autism spectrum, is almost ready for takeoff.
He just needs a little more practice.
"When you first do it, it gets a little tough," Wondafrew says. "But, when you get used to it, you feel like you finally like it."
Yvette Wondaferew, Daniel's sister, has driven him to the iCan Bike summer camp in Suwanee, Georgia.
"My little brother, I would say he is the most unique, kindest person I have ever met," Wondafrew says.
Daniel has embraced the camp, which is designed for children 8 and older with a disability.
"The day we found out he has autism, we didn't know, what that was," Yvette Wondaferew. "We weren't exposed to that word."
We just found out they are not different, they're just a unique set of people."
Stacey and Dan Cheney, the co-founders of the non-profit The Guide Project, Inc., sponsored this iCan Bike camp in Gwinnett County.
It teaches these young riders how to balance, pedal, and steer their bikes using a series of rollers and volunteers to support them.
"I'm not an avid cyclist," says Stacey Cheney. "I'm not bringing this here because I love biking. I'm bringing it here because I know biking is important. It's a rite of passage, for a lot of us, and it's something many people take for granted."
Daniel has already mastered other sports.
"Initially, our parents, the family, was like, 'Let's let him do swimming, it is the best exercise, it can work all his body, his muscles,'" his sister says. "Then, we thought about. You know, 'Let's not limit him to one activity, let him try everything. Let's see what he likes, let's see what he dislikes.'"
Daniel says he has seen some of his family members ride, and it seemed easy for them.
"And, when the opportunity was given to me, I felt like I could finally join them," he says.
By the end of the camp, iCan Bike says about 80% of the riders can ride at 75 feet without assistance, and the other 20% make progress.
"It takes teaching the way people learn and sometimes they learn differently," Stacey Cheney says. "I think if we can take the time to figure that out, and I think iCan Bike has done that, they can be a lot more successful. But, it just takes teaching a little bit differently."
Watching her brother, Yvette Wondaferew confided she's never learned to ride like Daniel.
"To see him ride a bike, and to see that he can do it, it occured to me that I can do I can take that extra step, that extra mile to do that," she says. "So, he's been such an inspiration for us all."
For Daniel Wondaferew this is about more that riding.
It's about being included, and being just like other young people.
"I finally learned how to ride a bike now," Wondaferew smiles. "And, maybe you can, too. "