Advancing National Service

Can Riding Tricycles Help These Injured Vets?

April 22, 2014
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Can Riding Tricycles Help These Injured Vets?
There may be hidden therapy in the tricycle. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
A Michigan nonprofit provides injured vets with special therapeutic tricycles.

Who would have guessed that what some veterans need most is a tricycle? Portage, Mich.-based nonprofit Lest We Forget Our Vets did, and they have been providing disabled veterans with specially designed tricycles to increase their mobility and provide them with a form of exercise that accommodates their physical needs. AMBUCS, a national nonprofit that works to enhance independence in people with disabilities, initially developed the AmTryke as a therapeutic vehicle for children with disabilities, and since has expanded to adult models. The tricycle provides stability that a two-wheeled bike can’t, and each AmTryke can be pedaled either with the feet or hands.

T.W. Lane, director of Lest We Forget Our Vets, told Alex Jokich of NewsChannel 3 that the AmTrykes build strength, increase mobility, and improve self-esteem in veterans who may not have been able to get around much without them. The nonprofit provides AmTrykes to veterans suffering from physical disabilities, PTSD or the after effects of a traumatic brain injury.

Recently Lest We Forget Our Vets brought an AmTryke to Victor Van Fleet, a 95-year-old World War II Veteran, who crashed his two-wheeled bike last year and thought his cycling days were behind him. Van Fleet has been enjoying pedaling in his Kalamazoo community. “It allows you to do things you couldn’t do before,” he told Jokich. “You can observe the sky above and the sunshine and the birds and the trees. You see things that you’ve never seen before on a two-wheeler.”

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