Summer camp teaches kids with disabilites how to ride bikes

Weeklong camp run by Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. – One Orange County Convention Center hall became a test track for bikers this week. The bikers weren't motorcycles and they weren't professional cyclists. They were children with learning disabilities who are developing the skills to ride a bike. 

This is the sixth year for the iCan Bike camp run by the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida. The camp uses roller bikes to help boost the children's confidence. The pin-like wheels help them prepare for bikes that are more conventional. 

"It's incredible to see the transformation of our riders," said organizer Camille Gardiner. "Some of them come in on day one and they're quiet and shy. They don't want to get on the roller bikes. By Friday, they're high-fiving our volunteers and they're smiling." 

"When we came in, we were kind of not very optimistic, to say the least," said parent Lauretta Justin, of Orlando. "But today is Thursday and they are on two wheels and I'm excited."

A team of volunteers stand alongside the bikers as they whiz and zoom across the convention center floor. Vincent Torna has volunteered at 100 of these sessions over the past several years, all because he wants to see children enjoy biking as much as he does.

"Its' that social aspect of riding a bike," he said. "You get to go out with your family on a family trip, ride down the street and it's not just sitting down and moving on a bicycle."

The camp wraps up on Friday. 

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