Breaking Barriers with Bikes

The Rehabilitation Centre for Children’s W.A. Laddie Hutchison Bike Clinic gives Children the Opportunity ride a bike

Eleven-year-old Avery Lindgren mastered bike riding at a young age.

“Avery was up on two wheels at a younger age than many kids and she has never looked back,” says Avery’s dad, Grant Lindgren.  “On any given evening, Avery can be found organizing the neighbourhood bike parade to the park.”

Avery Lindgren with her new  bike, which was modified in the W.A. Laddie Hutchison Bike Clinic.

The only difficult part was finding a bike she could ride. 

Avery lives with Dwarfism and buying a standard bike off a store shelf wasn’t an option.

“Avery has always embraced her small stature and never let her size stand in the way of anything. Her only physical limitations were created by a world that was designed for people that are larger than her,” says Lindgren.

That’s where the team of occupational therapists, clinical technologists, engineers, and technicians inside Rehabilitation Centre for Children’s W.A. Laddie Hutchison Bike Clinic stepped in. The Lindgrens purchased a standard bike and brought it to the centre where it was modified to meet her specific needs.

“We meet with children and their families to determine what type of bicycle and what type of modifications are needed to ensure they can safely enjoy riding a bike,” explains Matt Gale, a Clinical Technologist at Rehabilitation Centre for Children. “Families typically purchase a standard bicycle, and we modify it for their needs.”

The most common modification made to bikes is the addition of stability wheels—a robust version of training wheels that provide extra support and balance. Other common modifications include adding waist belts, trunk supports, as well as handles and brakes for parents.

“We try to make any modification that will ensure the child can ride their bike and have fun,” says Gale, adding that Avery’s bike took a bit more complex customization than most because the pedal and drive system were designed and built from scratch. 

Rehabilitation Centre for Children clinical technologist, Matt Gale, and occupational therapist, Julie Huish make final customizations to Avery’s modified bike.

Every year about 150 bikes are brought in and modified in the bike clinic, which is funded by a generous donation from Laddie and Pat Hutchison to the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation.

“As parents, we are very grateful that the centre has helped Avery realize that there really are no limitations,” says Lindgren.

The Hutchison’s donation will ensure that children experience the joy of riding a bike for generations to come.

“I like to ride my bike to the park in my neighbourhood and while camping at Winnipeg Beach,” adds Avery. “I’m happy to have a bike so I can ride with my friends and my sister.”

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