Chicago dad creates bikes for people with special needs

Steven Cohen believes every boy and girl deserves to feel the freedom of riding a bike and he’s devoted much of his time to making sure they can.

When his son Joey, who has autism, was trying to learn to ride a bike, Cohen, a dad of 10, and his oldest son watch as the pedals got in his way while he tried to push the bike. So the pair started taking the bike apart, ending up with a bicycle without wheels and a drive train. Joey then sat down on the bike and started walk-riding it around.

It was a lightbulb moment for Cohen, who decided he wanted every child to enjoy the independence that Joey was enjoying atop a bike. From there, JoRide was born.

“I was trying to help my son do something he wanted to do. It helped him and now it is helping thousands of others,” Cohen says. The bike company has since sold bikes for children and adults with special needs nationwide, for ages 5-70. In some cases, it has been considered an assistive device replacing a wheelchair.

Not only is JoRide a bike company, but the bike has opened Chicagoland to Joey, who is nonverbal, and Cohen’s family to explore.

“When I watch him ride, he’s happy. He makes other people happy,” Cohen says. “It makes me unbelievably ridiculously joyous. I feel like I am giving something to any kid or adult who has a special need and says ‘I can’t.’”

Pedal-less bikes range in price from $185 for a 16-inch bike to $249 for a 26-inch bike. For more info, visit joride.com.

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