Resident with spina bifida receives new adapted bike

| May 23, 2019

McKenzie Clapper rides her adapted bicycle at Lake Park on Tuesday, May 21. She purchased her bike at an all-volunteer company in Powell that makes sports equipment for people with disabilities.

COSHOCTON – McKenzie Clapper is an active 12-year-old girl who enjoys getting out and about and having fun with her family and friends. Clapper also has spina bifida, but she doesn’t let that slow her down. Just a couple of months ago, she was able to experience even more independence and freedom with the purchase of a new bicycle, which was made specifically for people with disabilities.

“We’ve tried getting her onto a bike before, but it’s been an issue because of her feet,” said Nichole Leary, Clapper’s mom. “We’ve tried different things to strap her feet down, but they never really worked.”

That all changed when Leary took her daughter to her seating and mobility clinic at The Ohio State University where they had adaptive bicycles. After inquiring about the bikes, Leary was told about Adaptive Sports Company in Powell where they make sports equipment for people with a variety of disabilities.

“The place is amazing,” said Leary. “They help any age child from toddler to adult and they do things for veterans.”

Clapper’s bike is unique in that she uses her arms to pedal. Her legs are strapped into cloth stirrups to hold them in place off the ground and the bike’s chain is near the handles that Clapper uses to pedal.

“I think it’s amazing she can have the same experiences that other kids have, whether it’s riding a bicycle, kayaking, or if she wanted to go skiing,” said Leary. “Seeing the smile on her face is just wonderful. It’s nice that people don’t have to be defined by their disabilities.”

Clapper said her new-found independence feels good. She likes to go really fast on her bicycle and has the upper body strength she needs to pedal.

Being out and about in the community is nothing new for Clapper. At age three, she started going to Higher Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center and always wanted to ride the biggest horse.

“I try to keep her out and active,” said Leary. “I’d love to see more people in the community with disabilities get out in the sunshine. Winter was so long, so let’s get out when the weather is nice.”

Leary hopes that more people with disabilities will come to know about Adaptive Sports Company.

“I’d like to see more people in the community with disabilities get bicycles,” said Leary. “I don’t know if they’re just not interested or if they just don’t know about it.”

Leary said that she understands transportation may be an issue for some people. If so, contact Leary at [email protected] and she may be able to provide transportation. Every other Saturday in Columbus, those with adaptive bikes get together at a park in Columbus and ride. Leary is hoping to get her daughter involved in that soon and hopes to be able to take others with them.

“There are so many different options available no matter what the disability is,” said Leary. “There’s some kind of sports equipment you can do.”

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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