"Pedal-less" Bicycles
for Special Needs Children and Adults
 
 
Manufacturing exec Steven Cohen finds way to help autistic kids ride bikes
 
Posted by Shia K. at 12/12/2010 10:38 PM CST, Crain's Chicago Business

Steven Cohen
is a self-described gearhead whose Aaron Equipment Co. in Bensenville buys, sells and manufactures machinery.

So it was with great fervor that he tackled a mechanical frustration at home his 11-year-old son, Joey, who is autistic, couldn't master riding his bike.

Joey couldn't ride on his own but was old enough that he didn't want help. "He just wanted to be like his brothers. But the pedals knocked him in the shins," Mr. Cohen said.

So dad stripped the bike of pedals, crank and chain and lowered the seat so Joey could walk the bike while sitting on top of it.

"He loved it. He can walk and coast and control it," Mr. Cohen told me for my Taking Names column in this week's Crain's Chicago Business. He donated a half-dozen stripped bikes to the suburban Riverwoods Center for Enriched Living and was motivated by the smiles of adults with developmental disabilities who had never been on a bike before.

JoRide Bicycles was born, and now Mr. Cohen is taking orders form school districts, care facilities and youth centers to create bikes for children and adults with disabilities. He also gets individual orders from parents of children like Joey and from people who have never learned how to ride a bike.

"It's a great way to learn," he said. A few large bike-makers are also talking to Mr. Cohen about his entrepreneurial venture.

Now, "Joey can do this on his own," Mr. Cohen said. "Everyone wants independence."

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