Eli is an active kid who loves being outside. He wanted to ride his bike in his neighborhood, but he has a limb difference and his shorter left arm made it hard for him to balance, brake, and shift. Mark Horn, an instructor in BikeWalkKC's education department, worked with Eli to find a solution.
Mark rebuilt a bicycle for Eli with both shifters on the right side of the handle bar, plus a dual-pull brake lever that controls the front and the rear brake simultaneously. On the left side of the bike, Mark attached a bar end to secure a section of pool noodle. When Eli slips his shorter left arm into the pool noodle, he can balance confidently and ride safely!
Mark first experimented with pool noodle adaptations for limb differences in 2018 for 9 year old Nour, a student in our BLAST (Bicycle Lessons And Safety Training) program. Mark's quick thinking with tubular styrofoam and duct tape allowed Nour to participate in the BLAST activities and look forward to summer bike rides with her best friend Sophia.
BikeWalkKC instructors live for the thrill of showing our students the independence, strength, and joy that can be found when we explore our communities at human speed. Whether they are kids like Eli and Nour or adults like their parents and grandparents, and whether they use pool noodles or orthopedic sneakers or a power chair, they need safe and welcoming streets.
We are working for a brighter future. We envision a Kansas City region where people of all ages and abilities have more transportation options. Pool noodles feel like a simple solution, but the real challenge is redefining our streets as places for people to raise families, build relationships, and chase dreams.
You can help us achieve this future: make a donation of any amount to become a BikeWalkKC member!