The goal of iCan Bike is to teach
individuals with disabilities to ride a conventional two wheel bicycle and
become lifelong independent riders. This achievement, in turn, creates a
gateway of opportunity, helping them gain assurance and self-reliance in many
other aspects of their lives.
Movement and Play are the basis for all iCan Shine programs. Each program
provides success through experience. Every effort is acknowledged for each
unique person's individual abilities. Recreational skills can be difficult to
master for individuals with disabilities. Breaking skills into small,
achievable goals and celebrating each accomplishment builds the self-esteem and
confidence needed to continue the challenges of learning.
This is what we call the sense of "iCan". Everyone needs to believe
"iCan" in order to make the effort required to gain the skill.
Positive encouragement and guidance from well-trained, energized instructors
and volunteers allow each participant to discover and develop their
"iCan" in a safe, supportive and fun environment.
Participants undergo a transformation from not believing they are able to
accomplish a skill, to believing "iCan". This impacts their
well-being and opens them to try new activities. Choices in recreation should
be available for everyone.
Fitness is easier to achieve when it is fun and you can be successful. That's
when you really SHINE! Everyone can shine. We all just need the right
environment and parameters in place to meet our individual needs. In the iCan
Shine environment of teaching and learning, everyone advances, everyone gains
by the experience, everyone is successful and... everyone shines.
Our adapted iCan Bike program resulted from more than twenty years of research
by Dr. Richard E. Klein, a mechanical engineering professor, and his students
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Klein retired from his
academic career at the University of Illinois in 1998 and held the first bike
camp in 1999 in LaCrosse, WI.
In the ensuing years, Dr. Klein and his wife, Marjorie, invested a significant
portion of their lives in growing the bike program to three fleets of bikes and
approximately 30 camps in 2006.
iCan Bike programs are for children with disabilities ages 8-18. We understand
that the vast majority of people with disabilities never experience the thrill
of independently riding a two-wheel bicycle during their lifetime. Research
shows that over 80% of people with Autism and 90% of people with Down syndrome
never learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle. Defying these odds is why we exist!
Success in learning to ride a bicycle is a major milestone in anyone's life.
When learning has been a struggle, the accomplishment and its impact is much
greater. We observe that learning to ride a bicycle infuses the rider with
self-image that spills over into many other aspects of their lives. They are
positively impacted by the experience as well.