Extra Special People

Elena Noble, MPT | August 2013

Contributed by Brett Haslam, Co-founder and President of Oconee County Cycling Organization

A group of bicyclists competing during the Tour D’Oconee

About four years a group of us became concerned about the number of cycling accidents in our area and decided to do something about it. We formed an organization to promote safe cycling, assist in improving bicycling infrastructure, and facilitate the growth of all types of bicycling in Oconee County, Georgia.  We hosted an annual bike race and called it Tour D’Oconee or Tame the Lion. (The route is the shape of a lion.) We had two successful races, and then last October when we were planning the race for spring 2013 we thought of including kids from a local program called Extra Special People (ESP). ESP provides fun and educational activities for children with disabilities. Horseback riding, boating, camping and the arts are all part of their activities. We thought, why not biking too? We wanted to give these children an opportunity to cycle too.

A young man and women with Extra Special People ride tricycles next to a boy in a wheelchair leading the Tour D’Oconee race while being tailgated by a police vehicle.

We decided to use the proceeds from the 2012 race to purchase two adaptive trikes which we donated to the ESP program. Two directors from ESP rode the new trikes alongside a young man in a wheelchair from ESP who led the race. A police car followed the trikes and next came 175 riders! After cycling part of the route the lead riders turned off and watched the race with great excitement. What a day!

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