Five-year-old Gavin Valentine recently experienced the thrill of getting his first bike—thanks to the generosity of people who participated in Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare’s Pedal in Place event on March 5, 2017.
Pedal in Place is a stationary bike race where teams of riders raise money to purchase bikes and trikes that are specially adapted for kids who have disabilities. The annual event includes an Adapted Bike Expo where children can test ride bicycles and tricycles customized to their needs
Worth the Drive
The Valentine family drove nearly two hours from their St. Cloud, Minnesota home to the Adapted Bike Expo, which takes place in the Twin Cities, so Gavin could find the perfect bike.
“Gavin has a 10-year-old brother, Darien, who rides his bike all the time,” his mom, Crescence Valentine, says. “Gavin looks up to his big brother and wants to ride bikes with him.”
Gavin has cerebral palsy and needs a special bike with a “hoop” and seatbelt to provide support for his body, “sandal pedals” so his feet can be strapped in, special handle bars and a particular braking system. His new bike is a shiny, red, three-wheeled Triad.
Fundraising Makes it Possible
Adapted bikes and trikes can be costly and run from $1,500 to more than $5,000 depending on the model and specifications needed. This year’s Pedal in Place raised more than $52,000 and provided funds for 25 full or partial grants to Gillette families to purchase adapted bikes.
Gavin was all smiles and a ball of energy when he picked up his bike. “I’m excited!” he exclaimed as his dad helped him navigate the bike out of the shop.
We received the letter stating Gavin will receive a full grant for his bike and we were both so happy we cried! This is so wonderful!! We could not have achieved this without the grant—thank you!!!
- Cresence Valentine, Gavin's mom
Jack Carlson of Strauss Skates and Bicycles in Maplewood, Minnesota is an expert in crafting adaptive bikes for kids. “I’ve probably made close to 120 adaptive bikes for Gillette kids over the years,” Carlson says. “The trick is you have to make the kids feel safe and comfortable. After that, the kid will take off and it’s fun to watch the big smile on their face.”
Building Strength and Independence
“We are so grateful to Gillette for giving our Gavin the opportunity to have his own bike and share his bike riding passion with everyone,” adds his mom. “I can't wait to see how this affects his skills and progress in therapy!”
Editor's note: Read more stories of CAN, like Gavin's, in our 2016 Annual Report.