AMHERST - Science-fiction novelist H.G. Wells once said, "Bicycle tracks will abound in Utopia," and on Saturday the Amherst YMCA became that Utopia.
Freedom Concepts, which customizes bicycles for kids with disabilities, along with the IWK, whichbrought 15 of the bicycles from its recreational therapy program, set kids on the road to emancipation during a demonstration of their specialized bikes.
"This is fantastic," said Dawn Spicer, whose son Alex rode one of the bikes. "My son is seven and has never rode a bike. He's never had the stability to do so."
With those words, Spicer and her mom Sandra began to cry.
"Just to see the equipment that's out there and to see what they can build, it's just amazing," Spicer said.
Alex has cerebral palsy, leaving one side of his body weaker than the other.
"When you have a kid with a disability, you always hope he will live a normal life," Spicer said. "But it's frustrating when you see the normal stuff that other kid can do but your kid can't do it.
"To see him ride a bike is a huge relief. It goes to show that with the proper equipment anything can be accomplished. This will have a huge impact on his life."
Rae Patriquin brought his 11-year-old son Jeremy to the YMCA to try out some of the bikes and he agrees with Spicer's assessment.
"This is fantastic," Patriquin said. "It will allow him to go for a bike ride with his older brother."
David Kron of Freedom Concepts, whose head office is in Winnipeg, was on hand to help fit kids for the bikes.
"We've been in business for 18 years," Kron said. "We started with one bike for one child.
"It's up to the parents to tell us what they are looking for in a bike and it's our job is to build it so it will work for them."
Will Spicer be purchasing a new bike for Alex?
"Definitely. We'll be ordering one online for sure," she said.