The Fort McMurray Catholic and Public school boards are coming together to get kids of all needs riding bicycles.
‘Wood Buffalo U Can Ride 2′ is a collaborative program between the District’s providing adapted bikes so all children have an opportunity to ride one.
The first U Can Ride 2 program began in Edmonton back in 2012.
FMPSD Assistant Superintendent Shannon Noble tells Mix News the initiative is directed at kids who have difficulty riding a normal bike.
“Some of our older students need the two wheels on the back and our little guys that can’t pedal – they need the hookup to their parents’ bikes. So, there are quite a few adaptations that happen to these bikes so that the students – whatever the need may be – can ride them.”
Both districts have enlisted several community partners on this project, which FMCSD Deputy Superintendent Monica Mankowski says they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish without their help.
Those organizations include the Canadian Red Cross, Regional Collaborative Service Delivery, Safe Community Wood Buffalo, SportChek and Habitual Sports.
“Our occupational therapist and physiotherapists meet with each child and fit them with a bike that meets that particular needs,” Mankowski said. “It might be as simple as putting big wheels on the back of the bike or adjusting the seat. We have special seats and pedals so kids can sit comfortably, and we have some welded bikes so they can continue pedaling and work on getting physically strong while out on the trails.”
A ‘Try a Bike Day’ was organized back in May, giving parents a chance to help their kids ride a bike for the first time ever.
Mankowski notes that this was something people in Fort McMurray have wanted to be involved in for some time.
“It’s our first year but we just hope that it keeps growing and becomes a big part of our community for years to come.”
The program will be providing opportunities for parents throughout the summer to find what bikes best fit the individual needs of their child.
Noble adds the program will allow families to borrow bikes throughout the school year and summer.
“Our hope is to grow the lending library so that more and more kids have access to these bikes. Some of them can be quite expensive and quite complex so, the goal is to continue to grow it and reach out to families and see how many people we can help through this initiative.”
The next ‘Try a Bike Day’ takes place on Friday from 1-6 p.m. at Father Beauregard School.