Kids get surprise gifts of ‘game-changing’ adaptive bikes from local group

Chicago News

Christmas came a few weeks early for two young people who received a set of life-changing wheels. 

While many people can find a new bike at a store or neighborhood shop with no major issues, Dare2Tri’s Keri Serota said it’s much more difficult for kids with disabilities to find something both practical and affordable. 

“For a kid who has a disability ilke cerebral palsy or an amputation or who is blind or visually impaired, they can’t go out and ride like everybody in their neighborhood,” Serota said.

So for years, Dare2Tri has pulled special adaptive bikes from their trailer to put people in the saddle, often for the very first time. 

“It’s amazing!” said 12-year-old Gabrielle Sullivan. “I think it just feels like, ‘wow, I can do this; I’m not so different.” 

Now thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Hartford Ability Equipped Program and Move United, the group was able to extend their mission further by buying a new trailer and nine new adaptive bikes. 

Serota calls them “game-changing wheels.”

“It allows us to take our On the Road to Ride program to various children’s hospitals, rehab facilities, schools and communities and introduce kids with disabilities to adaptive cycling and help get them active and living full lives so they know they can do anything,” Serota said. 

The grant did all that, along with reaching two unsuspecting Dare2Tri athletes from out of state. 

For Sam Winter in North Dakota, Christmas came early when Dare2Tri was able to ship a brand new adaptive recumbent bike to him. 

“It’s unreal. I like how I can keep up with my brother now because before I couldn’t,” Winter said.

Jana Dickerson out of Kentucky was the second lucky recipient. 

“My own new bicycle!” Dickerston said. “It’s even my favorite color, purple, and a Trek bike just like my hero Melissa Stockwell rides!’ 

Serota said providing these kids with adaptive bikes can help show them what’s possible and open all kinds of doors.

“As they acquire these new skills, this confidence really transfers over to all aspects of their lives,” Serota said.

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