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Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society

Aug 1, 2014

by Alberta Venture Staff

Volunteers modify bikes for kids with special needs
Photograph Ryan Girard

Most Innovative Organizations | Edmonton Bike Commuters’ Society

Senior executive: Christopher Chan
Founded: 1980
Headquartered: Edmonton

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society has done lots of great stuff over the years: lobbying for cyclists’ interests; helping people take care of their rides; running bike festivals. But their You Can Ride 2 program takes the cake. With the help of volunteers, the society is adapting bikes for children with special needs. “Every bike is different,” says the society’s executive director, Christopher Chan. “Some are off-the-shelf models designed for special needs kids, some are department store tricycles that work for some needs, and some are in-house customizations.”

Every year, the society organizes bike-fitting days, where volunteers – many of them occupational therapists or bike mechanics – swap out parts: maybe it’s a set of handlebars that comes up higher than normal. Maybe it’s pedals with straps for the rider’s feet. Maybe it’s a seat with a seatbelt. The society now owns more than 60 customized bikes and loans them out to families, who need only pay a $100 refundable deposit. “One of the issues with specialized equipment is that these kids are still growing,” Chan says. “A family could buy an adapted bike for $2,000, but in a couple of years they outgrow it.”


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