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All About Bikes (For Special Needs Kids, Of Course)

In the spirit of James starting Special Needs Bike Camp next week (in Hoboken – email me if you want more info!), I thought I would share an article my mom sent me about two amazing volunteers in the Chicago area who build adaptive bikes for special needs children and give them away:

pioneers featured in people magazine

Pioneers Gordon and Connie Hankins, leaders of the New Outlook Pioneers Therapy Oriented Tricycle (“TOT”) Trike Program in Naperville, Illinois, are featured in People Magazine’s “Heroes Among Us” in the July 4th edition of People which hit newsstands on June 23, 2011.

The New Outlook Pioneers Crossroads Chapter has been making and donating TOT Trikes since 1986 and Gordon and Connie have been leading the project for the past several years.  The trikes are assembled by an all-volunteer project team and are provided free of charge.  The Crossroads Chapter donates approximately 80 trikes per year, which translates into a $400,000 value since the beginning of the program, as it costs the chapter about $200 to build each trike.

Learn more about the TOT Trike Program and get information on how to order a trike.  

Make a gift in support of this and other Pioneers projects and programs.    

This is just one of many Pioneers stories being shared with international media as we celebrate our 100 years of grass-roots service to our communities.  

For all the latest Pioneers information, check the website often, register your email to received the Centennial Times e-newsletter, follow the Centennial blog and the Pioneers page on Facebook. 

If you have a great Pioneers project story to tell, we encourage you to share it.  It may just be the next international media feature!  Please send your stories to pioneersprojects@pioneersvolunteer.org.  Be sure to include your name and complete contact information, including phone number and home and email address, along with a detailed summary of your program, including what makes it special or unique.  

Therapy Oriented Tricycle (TOT Trikes) Make Mobility a Reality

The Pioneers TOT (Therapy Oriented Tricycle) Trike is a modified safe tricycle designed for children with special needs (ages 2½ to 7 years) to help improve their strength and enhance their physical therapies while allowing them the thrill of playing and interacting with other children.  The TOT Trike is specially designed for children who have weak leg muscles, but are able to use the pedals. 

The pedal-powered TOT Trike is available in 16”, 12” and 10” sizes.

Add-On Components:  
• wider rear axel for stability and safety on the 16” trike   
• metal back brace with Styrofoam back support and seatbelt
• foot holders on pedals with Velcro straps
• upright handle-bars (if regular horizontal ones are too restrictive – 12″ and 16″ trikes only)

A letter of recommendation from the child’s physical therapist is required before the TOT can be provided.  Download the therapist’s recommendation form here.          

The New Outlook Pioneers Crossroads Chapter has been making and donating the TOT Trikes since 1986.  The trikes are assembled by an all-volunteer project team and are provided free of charge to the recipient.  The Crossroads Chapter donates approximately 80 trikes per year which has resulted in a total contribution of over $400,000 since the inception of the program.

The TOT Trikes are donated to children mainly through local agencies associated with special needs children such as hospitals, schools, Easter Seals locations and other medical facilities.  The trikes are delivered fully assembled and Pioneers make presentations upon request.

TOT Trikes can be ordered directly from the Crossroads Chapter.  The Trikes are distributed locally and in the metropolitan Chicago area with no shipping charges.  However, the chapter will ship anywhere in the world, with shipping charges being paid by the individual or group requesting the tricycle. 

For additional information or to request a tricycle, please contact:

Gordon & Connie Hankins
Co-Chairmen, TOT Project
New Outlook Crossroads Chapter
Phone:  630-355-7211
Fax: 630-355-7211 (please call before faxing)
Cell: 630-841-4542
Email:  ghankins99@aol.com

Just more proof that inspiration can be found even on the hottest of days!





  1. nick jacks
    January 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I just read a couple dozen of your blog entries and was totally enthralled. You probably feel you’re living a life that tends to write itself, but trust me, you have a real talent for comic timing in the way you relate the little moments in your family’s life. Really great. I’d pay to read this stuff. I’m sure a lot of people would. Now I totally forgot how I ended up here, except that I was looking for blogs on Summer Camps for special needs kids. I lived in NYC for 17 years, but call Austin, TX home now and have an 11-year old with CP. There was something listed in Cerebral Palsy Family Network that got me here, but for the life of me, I don’t remember what it was. Well, good luck with everything. I’ve just bookmarked your blog and plan to check back often.

    • January 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks for reading – I really appreciate the comments (if you know of a publisher specializing in Monday Minutes or Top Tens please pass my info along!). It’s always nice to hear that a little comic relief goes a long way – to Austin in this case! And thanks for the link, I def plan to check it out!

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