Learn to bike course for autistic beginners is looking for participants and volunteers

I’m Joelle, a member of the Eastern Queens Greenway. On August 13th I’m volunteering to support ELIJA (Empowering Long Island through Its Journey with Autism) and the Autism Community by holding a Bike New York Learn to Ride class. In comparison to other classes Bike New York runs, this class will be specifically geared towards individuals with higher functioning autism ages 10 to 18. As always, the classes are free and Bike New York will lend out the bikes and helmets at no additional cost.

If you would be interested in teaching Learn to Ride, and working with individuals with high functioning autism, then I invite you to come to our training session at on August 6th.  We will have a training class from 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM for those who do not have experience with autism and then a training from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM to teach you how to help students learn to ride.

Both the Learn to Ride class as well as the training session will take place Flushing Meadows Corona Park Aquatic Center (outside at southeast corner of building).

These events have been the culmination of a five year cycling journey for me, as five years ago, I began to cycle together with my dad on a big red tandem bike. In our first ride we participated in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, in which we fundraised for ELIJA, a program which my sister attends. About two years after this, I fell in love with road cycling and since then I have never stopped.

Autism is a spectrum disorder which affects every individual who has it differently. Many, however, struggle socially, which is why this program is all the more crucial for individuals on the spectrum. I am hoping that through Learn to Ride, many individuals will have a new outlet to interact socially whether it be with their peers or within the NYC/Long Island cycling community.  In fact, according to research, motor-based physical exercise benefits individuals with autism, not only physically, but socially, behaviorally, and academically.

I encourage anyone who is interested in either teaching or participating in Learn to Ride to contact me at joellelemond@gmail.com.  I hope that everyone can participate in any way that they can.  Our first class can be found by simply going to IMATHLETE.com and searching ELIJA. Happy riding everyone!

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