When Variety Kid Zion cycles through his neighborhood on his daily adaptive bike ride, the air is filled with shouts of “I like your bike!” and “Cool ride!” He smiles, laughs, and rides on, proud that he is finally riding a super cool bike of his own.
You see, Zion hasn’t always been able to ride a bike. He has challenges that make riding a standard, two-wheeled bike difficult. But thanks to a new adaptive bike from Variety St. Louis, he has made big strides towards independence.
Back when Zion first received his adaptive bike, he could only ride it with help from his parents. He had limited hand-eye coordination and couldn’t quite grasp the concepts of peddling and steering.
But Zion’s mom and dad were determined to help him experience the freedom of riding a bike, so they started riding bikes every day as a family. Once Zion mastered peddling, they headed to empty lots to teach him how to steer. Low and behold, Zion was steering by himself within a week!
“I was so surprised, shocked, and proud!” Zion’s mom, Nicole, exclaims. “He’s now fully riding his bike on his own!”
Since then, Zion and his family have continued their daily rides. His dad has even added lights to his bike so that they can ride together in the evenings following his last therapy session of the day.
“We usually can’t start his bike ride until the evening, and it can get dark as we’re out,” Nicole explains. “But we wouldn’t give up this bike ride for anything because it is also exercise and – most importantly – it’s our family bonding time”
This daily bike ride is a highlight of Zion’s day. He has a vestibular sensory need and loves to move, so having the freedom to move on his own is a big deal to him.
In addition to this adaptive bike, Variety is also helping Zion by providing access to speech therapy sessions. Nicole shares that Zion has learned so many things through these therapy sessions and by riding his bike, some of which she doesn’t believe she would have been able to teach Zion on her own.
She says, “Because of the generosity of Variety, our son will always have skills that he can use in life, whether for leisure with friends or for a mode of transportation. I never thought my baby would be riding a bike on his own, but he is, and I thank all the good and kind people of Variety who make these kinds of dreams happen for all the families who need that helping hand.”
You can learn more about our Bikes for Kids program, through which Zion received his adaptive bike, here. Thank you to everyone who helps make it possible for us to make the dreams of area children with disabilities come true!