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In July 2023, Bike Fed staff taught bike and pedestrian safety to adult clients at Milwaukee Center for Independence.

Through a grant funded by the Bureau of Transportation Safety at WisDOT, Bike Fed staff were able to bring safety lessons and new experiences to the adult clients at Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI) in July 2023. For those clients that had various physical or developmental limitations we started with classroom discussions and games to learn about traffic safety vocabulary. We led a short walk around their campus and identified hazards and things to be aware of when walking with staff, friends, or family.

For those who had the ability, or maybe didn’t know they could yet, we brought adult sized balance bikes, regular mountain bikes, and a recumbent trike to try in the parking lot. The first steps were to teach them how to properly fit and wear a helmet. Then we moved on to giving everyone a try at the balance bike and assessing who might be able to ride the other types of bikes.

I was very impressed by Pierre, he took right to biking the two wheels through the mini obstacle course. Pierre has done various sports in the Special Olympics and might want to consider competing in biking opportunities in the future!

man rides a bike around a parking lot with safety instructors looking on
Pierre definitely has the skills to ride!

We also were able to get Vincent riding on two wheels after a few runs on the balance bike! The smile and laughter he had after learning was contagious!

man wearing grey shirt and helmet practices learning to ride ona n adult sized balance bike without pedals in a parking lot with safety instructor looking on
Vincent was able to ride a two wheeled pedal bike after a few runs on the balance bike!

The others who had balancing challenges were able to ride on the recumbent trike. Almost all of them were able to pedal, steer, and brake on the trike with just minimal guidance from us.

woman pedals an recumbent tricycle in parking lot with help of adult male safety instructor
Almost everyone else was able to pedal, steer, and brake on the trike!

woman in orange shirt learns to use a balance bike with another woman safety instructor
Safety Instructor Barb offers encouragement to a rider

This experience was so amazing and heart warming to be able to help folks learn and experience even a small amount of riding. Everyone was cheering each other on and hugging after they were able to accomplish a spin through the course!

Thanks for the best day of my life!

-MCFI client after the class

“MCFI was very eager to partner with the Bike Fed.  Many clients had an opportunity to try different types of bicycles, some of whom had never had the opportunity to ride a bike before.  We look forward to future opportunities together.” – Erin Dentice, L.I.F.E. Services Program Supervisor

It is truly great to see what opportunities the recumbent trike was able to offer people who previously had not really been given the chance to ride. There are many types of adaptive bikes that can offer you, a family member, friend, or client at your site, the chances to experience riding! As someone who has been working in bike safety and advocacy for almost 16 years, these days with the MCFI clients were reminders how bikes can bring joy to everyone, and being able to help them experience this was the highlight of the month for sure, maybe the year!

You can watch a short montage video from Center for Independence on Facebook here

For those who are unable to ride a bike we encourage you to learn more about our Cycling Without Age program and the trishaws which can be ridden not only for our older population but those who might not have the capacity to pedal themselves still feel the joy of being on a bike!