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Bike First! cancelled due to COVID-19

A message from Ann Donaca-Sullivan, Director of Wellness:

Dear Bike First! Families-

Once again, we write to sadly tell you that Bike First! 2021 is cancelled. With COVID 19, we are unable to obtain insurance and secure a location. Any families who have paid to hold their spots this year, will receive a refund check in the mail. Our plan is to hold Bike First! 2022 where we will finally celebrate our 15th year of teaching individuals with disabilities the skills needed to ride typical bikes.

Please stay safe and vaccinate when it's your time!

Bike On!

Ann and Angela V

Bike Week is a magical experience for everyone

Riders blossom and beam with pride over their new-found skill, volunteers cheer, and parents tear up to see their child take flight, alone, for the first time. Bike First! is open to children 8 years and up; meaning there is no cap on the end age!

People who experience a variety of disabilities have had success at the clinics—including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, visual impairments, extreme fear of falling, fine motor challenges, and developmental delays. 

Typically-developing children learn to ride a bicycle with help from their family and friends. Unfortunately, most individuals with disabilities who try this route are unsuccessful.

Through careful research into the elemental physics of bicycle riding, Dennis Blong and his team designed and built a unique type of adapted bike that enables the rider and bike to function together as a system. Our new design uses air cylinders to gently cushion the rider while keeping the rider safely upright. As the rider’s skill develops over the course of the week, we gradually reduce the air pressure until the rider is on his/her own. Our bike mechanic and floor director make the necessary adjustments and guide the riders as they progress.

The BikeFirst! program works with children, youths, and adults who experience difficulty getting past training wheels and onto conventional two-wheelers.

Bike First! is an event sponsored by ABI and was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2006. We are proud to have served over 500 children in our programs and are privileged to bring to Portland a program that systematically teaches individuals the skills needed to ride typical bicycles.

About the Quick Start / Refresher Course

Many individuals learn to ride their bikes, then how to start and stop. If your child can ride yet needs more focus on other skills or confidence, or if your child simply hasn't learned to ride and needs additional supports, enroll them in our Quick Start course, which runs Wednesday through Friday of Bike Week. For those who know how to ride and need guidance with advanced skills, enroll them in our Refresher course also running Wednesday through Friday of Bike Week. The new, cutting-edge technology will be available for their use in the gym as well as our outside riding area and seasoned spotters.

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” - John F. Kennedy

Biking is more than just exercise and transportation: it’s a social activity of connection, a childhood rite of passage and a first taste of independence. This unique approach has enabled thousands of people, with a myriad of disabilities, to become independent bicycle riders.

Bike First! is proud to extend the opportunity for individuals to connect with their community through biking and share in the "simple pleasure of a bike ride."

Contact Us

Ann Donaca-Sullivan • Clinic Director •
Contact Ann for scheduling changes for riders and volunteers and for hardship scholarship information.

Angela Vossenkuhl • Business Manager •
Contact Angela for sponsorship and in-kind donations.

Videos to watch with your child


Svelt Racers
Concordia University (2007)
R & H Construction (2013)
Safe Routes to Schools (2008)
Original Joes (2006)
Boomers BBQ (2006)
Guardian Real Estate
M3 Productions LLC
Multnomah Athletic Foundation (2007)
Oregon Autism Society (2014)
Duoos Design (2006)
River City Bicycle (2007)
Therapy Solutions for Kids (2006)
Ideate, Inc. (2007)
Ukiah Engineering (2013)
Amalfi’s Italian Restaurant (2013)
Family Riders
Therapy Solutions for Kids
Hairworks Salon
Ukiah Engineering

What people are saying about Bike First!

"Bike First! is more than a bike camp for disabled children — it's a family, a support network, a cheer leading squad and a one-stop miracle zone. Every participant takes his or her first solo pedal strokes to the sound of thundering applause, and every participant is honored in front of the group in a closing ceremony. It's a time to shine and grow and triumph." Heidi Swift, The Oregonian

"We strongly support the Bike First! mission and congratulate all participants for their efforts in this worthwhile event... we'll be back with our support!" Craig H Dodge, Director/VP, Ideate, Inc.

"As a cyclist, seeing the look on someone's face as they ride a two wheeler for the first time defies words. We all know what a positive addition biking can be to all of our lives, to watch it happen is magical." Dave Guettler, Owner, River City Bicycles

"Being part of Bike First! was a very fulfilling event in my life. It helped open up a new life long activity for these families. It allowed them be included with their peers, promoted a healthy life style, and shared in the simple pleasure of a bike ride." Clark Mason, Bike First Volunteer Spotter

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