Friday, June 10, 2011

Bike Camp: Day 1

The staff and volunteers at the Chattanooga Bike Camp of Lose the Training Wheels were amazing. I had concerns John might run away or refuse to participate, but he got right in and started working.

They put him on a funny-looking bike adjusted to fit him just so and he was assigned a very special set of teenage volunteers who pledged to stay by his side for the next five days.

Day one, he rode for 75 minutes, stopping a couple of times to get a swig of water while his bike was adjusted to become almost imperceptibly more wobbly. He would hop back in the saddle and his trusty sidekicks talked and encouraged him through endless laps about the gym. Occasionally one of the staff members would call everyone to switch directions to keep from developing an inability to turn right, I suppose. As John's balance, confidence and coordination improved rapidly, his entourage found they had to take turns resting after jogging to keep up with him.

While John experienced his odyssey, several other campers were on journeys of their own. They were cheered on by siblings, parents, volunteers, staff members and previous campers as everyone worked so hard to lose those training wheels. Everyone had exactly as many attendants and adaptations as were necessary for that individual. It was fascinating to watch everyone work together to make it possible for each camper to achieve the most independence possible.

Although, I could see John improving and having a great time, I still wasn't quite sure how this process was going to get him on a two-wheeled bike by the end of the week.

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