Entries in Bicycling (2)


Couple Fashions Tricycles for Children with Disabilities

Connie and Gordon Hankins have spent 15 years reconstructing bikes for 900 children with disabilities. (Jake Whitman)(NAPERVILLE, Ill.) -- Connie and Gordon Hankins, a retired couple living in Naperville, Ill., are on a mission.

In their basement workshop, they transform tricycles, adding high seat backs with seat belts, custom handlebars and Velcro foot clips so that children with disabilities can ride.

"This is not just a toy," Gordon Hankins said. "It builds strength they need, and then they get that confidence [that] they can do other things."

Connie Hankins is a retired nurse; her husband, a retired telecommunications worker. Together, they now run the Therapy Oriented Tricycle TOT project. Since 1999, they've given away more than 900 free bikes to children nationwide.

Connie Hankins' file cabinet is filled with photos of every one of them. "I never get tired of it," she said of the smiles of children perched behind the handlebars.

Another cabinet is filled with thank you notes. She read some of them out loud.

"Thank you for giving our son Luke mobility," read one. "It brings tears to our eyes to see our daughter ride," read another.

After 50 years of marriage, the Hankinses' teamwork is evident. The pair can build and customize a tricycle in less than 15 minutes.

"We can build a bike without talking to each other," Connie Hankins said.

Each of the custom-built tricycles costs nearly $200, and the Hankinses rely on donations.

"We've exhausted our budget this year. We've extended it already," said Connie Hankins, "but I just can't tell them no."

The Hankinses continue to take requests, but they'll have to wait to fulfill them until donors come through.

The couple has spent thousands of their own dollars delivering the bikes to children across the country and the world. One family had the couple show them how to dismantle and re-assemble the bike before they shipped out to Afghanistan.

Noah Fontenot, 2, was the latest recipient of the couple's generosity. He also has cerebral palsy and requires braces to walk. He is wobbly on his feet, but moves freely strapped into his brand-new red tricycle. His mother, sister and grandmother screamed, "Go, Noah!" as he took his first ride on a Hankins tricycle.

"He sees other kids riding their bikes, and he wants to get in and play along with them," said his mother, Debrena Clay. "This will be real good for him 'cause he'll fit right in."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ten Great Cities for Cycling

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bicycles are certainly a more affordable means of transportation compared to four-wheeled, gas-guzzling automobiles, but many people probably think a relaxing bike ride and an urban environment are incompatible. Elizabeth Cutler, co-founder of Soulcycle, a New York-based chain of cycling workout studios, tells USA Today many cities are bicycle friendly.  Here is Cutler’s list of 10 great places for city cycling:

-- San Francisco
-- Portland, Ore.
-- Boulder, Colo.
-- Montreal
-- New York
-- Washington, D.C.
-- Chicago
-- Tucson
-- Madison, Wis.
-- Minneapolis

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio