One of the hardest parts of raising a special needs child is finding ways to allow them to experience everyday childhood activities. I know that sounds odd when you think of all the medical challenges, surgeries, therapies, IEP meetings with schools, and daily struggles. However, those things we cannot really get away from. When we are not dealing with those, we just want our kids to be kids just like everyone else. When my daughter was younger it was easier to find things to help her do things like her peers. Now that she is a teen, it is harder and harder.
One thing my daughter has always loved to do is ride bikes. She had an adaptive tricycle when she was little that allowed her to use her hands to help her feet do the job. However, she outgrew it years ago. Ever since, she has watched her friends ride by and she could not go. This past July, we went to an event where Music City Trykes was in attendance. We stopped by to talk to the people at the table and found out that they work with families to get kids adaptive trykes to help them be like their friends. Emma was so excited. They actually got out a measuring tape right then and started the process to add her to the wish list. We had to answer many questions and were warned that it may take many months for her name to come to the top of the list. We walked away so hopeful. Emma was already dreaming of hitting the road in our neighborhood.
Music City Trykes is so amazing. It is part of the bigger organization of AMBUCS. Their mission is to provide adaptive tricycles to children with special needs living in Middle Tennessee. These are not covered by medical insurance and are very expensive. Music City Tryke is 100 percent volunteer driven. All funds raised support the purchase and assembly of the custom-designed tryke for each rider’s needs. They also host events to encourage the riders to get out and ride. Every Amtryke (adaptive trykes for amazing people) is made to help each rider. It is designed to keep them as safe as possible and give them as much independence as they can. Riders are asked to donate back their Amtryke once they outgrow it so a child on the wish list may receive a tryke sooner than funds may allow. To date, Music City Trykes have donated 671 Amtrykes to riders on their wish list.
Emma was rider number 623!! She was able to get her tryke as part of their Christmas Build which is their biggest build of the year. Thanks to donations many children received trykes for free that day. The smile on her face was dazzling. She was so excited to be back on wheels. The bike is made to allow her help from an adult when she needs it, but freedom to go on her own as well. We are so thankful for the joy this has brought her. On most sunny and warm days you can see Emma and our family on the road around our house riding her Amtryke and her brother on his scooter beside her. She laughs and smiles the whole time. Every time we go out I am thankful for the volunteers who make Music City Trykes a reality.
Spring is coming soon and we hope to get out on some of the greenways around the Nashville area.
Here is a list of bike-friendly greenways in Nashville that we may enjoy this spring:
Harpeth River Greenway
Stones River Greenway
Cumberland River Greenway
Richland Creek Greenway
Shelby Bottoms Park and Greenway
Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail
Riverwalk Neighborhood Greenway
We hope to head to some of these greenways this spring and try Emma’s tryke out on the open road. In the meantime we will wave at her friends as she goes by them on her own bike. Just like all the other neighborhood kids riding around. It may look a little different, but to her, it levels the field. She is just like all her friends out enjoying a pretty day on her own wheels. Thanks to all who donated to Music City Trykes. To find out more about the organization and the adaptive tricycles they make, look at their website: MusicCityTrykes.org