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Kids Lose Training Wheels. Photo: Lose the Training Wheels
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Kids Lose Training Wheels at NDC

Lose The Training Wheels, Inc., a nationally recognized nonprofit organization, brings its innovative style of teaching children with disabilities how to ride a bicycle to Notre Dame College from Aug. 8 to 12. 

People with mental and physical disabilities typically have a more difficult time learning to ride a bike compared to their peers. Lose The Training Wheels’s five-day camp provides each camper with approximately one hour of instruction each day using a series of adapted bikes and techniques. At the end of the camp, more than 80 percent of campers can successfully ride a conventional bike.

Lose The Training Wheels will come to NDC on Aug. 8. Photo: Lose The Training Wheels
Lose The Training Wheels will come to NDC. Photo: Lose The Training Wheels

At Notre Dame College, Lose The Training Wheels will teach 30 Clevelanders ages 8 and older with disabilities how to ride a conventional bike. This is the first year Notre Dame College and parent advocate Megan McMahon have partnered to bring the Lose The Training Wheels camp to NDC. The camp has not been to Cleveland since 2008. To date, the camp has helped more than 5,000 people learn to ride bicycles without the aid of training wheels.

“We are thrilled to host an event such as this,” says Assistant Athletic Director Kevin Bille, who helped coordinate Notre Dame’s involvement. "Megan McMahon and Assistant Athletic Director for Community Engagement Mac McBride have done a great job of making this happen and we look forward to being a part of it.”

Lose The Training Wheels provides the equipment necessary to conduct the camp, along with professional expertise for technical support, training of staff and local volunteers, and knowledge about how to run a camp and facilitate the participants’ progress. The organization will conduct over 80 camps nationwide this year.       

“I saw my son learn to ski this winter and thought if he can ski better than me, then he can ride a bike.  However, I knew he would need an adaptive approach,” said McMahon, parent of Kevin, an 8-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. “Our school’s adaptive PE teacher, Eric Anderson, told me about Lose The Training Wheels. After researching the program, I knew there must be 29 other children in Cleveland that were in a similar situation.”  

Lose The Training Wheels teaches kids ages 8 and older to ride a bike. Photo: Lose The Training Wheels
Lose The Training Wheels teaches kids ages 8 and older to ride a bike. Photo: Lose The Training Wheels

McMahon’s first challenge was finding a location. That’s where Notre Dame College came in, donating its facilities for the program. Next, McMahon had to provide the administration, fundraising, recruitment of children and volunteers, as well as other camp necessities. Once again, Notre Dame offered its help, providing 75 percent of the 40 volunteers needed to make it a successful program. 

“This is a true give back moment for NDC,” McMahon says. “Without their generosity and the commitment from the Notre Dame community, this program would not be possible.”

To date, the program is full and has a waiting list.

“We are excited to work in conjunction with Megan McMahon to make Lose The Training Wheels a success,” says Mac McBride, assistant athletic director for community engagement. “We hope to make this camp an annual fixture in the Notre Dame College calendar.”

Notre Dame is hosting Lose The Training Wheels for the first time. Photo: Lose The Training Wheels
Notre Dame College is hosting the camp for the first time. Photo: Lose The Training Wheels

Along with Notre Dame College, the camp is being sponsored by generous contributions from Honda of Mentor, Toyota of Bedford, Nancy Geshke of Bay Village, the Upside of Downs and a few other individual contributors, who provided scholarships and allowed the tuition to be attainable for participants.

People with disabilities ages 8 and older are eligible to participate in the Lose The Training Wheels camp. Participants who have benefited most from this program are those who are able to walk without assistive devices, are able to sidestep quickly, can function in a social setting and are able and willing to wear a bike helmet.

Most of all, participants should have the desire to “lose the training wheels.” The camp helps increase self-confidence, improve quality of life through physical activity, inclusion with able-bodied peers and the ability to participate in a fun family activity.

The camp will take place in the Keller Center, Notre Dame’s indoor recreational facility. The College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or bjohnston@ndc.edu.