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Camp Helps Kids Ride Bikes

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For most children, riding a bike is something that comes easily. But for some, it's a skill that seems almost impossible to learn.

For those children, there is now Sonoma State University bike camp.

Alex: "I got to learn how to ride a regular bike."

The camp is the brain child of Richard Klein, a retired professor of engineering. He says riding a bike is important for many reasons.

Richard Klein Ph.D./ Bike Camp Founder: "It's a social environment with the other children, their peers are riding bikes, and if they cannot then they are excluded.. The other things are the sense of self-esteem, the therapy and the recreation."

He says for children with learning disabiliites or who have trouble riding bikes, traditional methods such as training wheels can hinder rather than help.

So he invented some new kinds of bikes. First children start off on a bike mounted on rollers. They are more stable and help give children a sense of confidence.

They also get plenty of encouragement.

Once they've mastered that they progress to a bike with one wheel and one roller.

Next is a regular bike with an extra large front wheel. And finally a regular bike.

It's not all smooth sailing, but gradually they learn how to ride on their own.

For some it's quick. For others, particularly children with disabilities, it takes longer, but the thrill is just as great.

Even for children who have severe learning disabilities, up to 80 percent are able to learn how to ride a bike at the camp.

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