A collaboration between Sequim schools and the Rotary Club of Sequim are helping several local students pedal their way to better fitness and social skills.
Working with physical therapist Cherry Bibler and others with the Sequim School District, the club’s Adaptive Bike Program committee donated its third adaptive tricycle to be used in Sequim schools.
This Rifton Bike Company tricycle was built using Bibler’s specifications, Rotary members said, and will be used by several students — including five middle school and five high school students in the adaptive physical education program — who will exercise with the bike each week.
Bibler, who has a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Oklahoma, has worked as a physical therapist for 38 years, the past 25 for the Sequim School District for 25 years. A liaison to the Rotary club, she works with Rotary program committee members to identify children who would benefit from a gift of an adaptive tricycle custom made by Rifton bikes.
The district sought a special needs tricycle that has features not provided on most adult tricycles, Rotary members note. This tricycle has a rear steering bar so adults can walk alongside the rider and help with steering, if necessary.
It also has seat belts, a back support and foot straps to ensure the rider’s safety, and pedals that rotate as the bike moves forward.
This feature, Rotary members said, is critical for students with special needs as they learn the coordination necessary for pedaling.
“Our students can ride every day with me and another staff member, which wasn’t possible with the older tricycles,” Bibler said.
“Although this tricycle program is just beginning, we have already seen remarkable benefits including physical, social and communication growth directly related to riding a tricycle.
“I am honored that the Rotary chose me to assist and look forward to our continued partnership. We are very excited and appreciate this generous gift to our school that will be utilized for many years.”
The Adaptive Bike Program, started as a test project under then club president Bob Macaulay, saw its first adaptive tricycle recipient in Abby Johnson earlier this year, and a second later in the year to 4-year-old Niko Rodes.