BENNINGTON, VT. >> Skyler Brown, 13, couldn't wait to try out his new, cherry red ride.
His parents looked on as he pedaled around the Holden-Leonard mill parking lot in his new bike, which is specially fitted for him.
On Friday, Brown took ownership of a brand new Amtryke therapeutic tricycle. He has mobility issues and usually uses crutches or sometimes a wheelchair, and can't ride a traditional bicycle, according to his parents.
His parents, Candy and William Brown, of Bennington, said the new Amtryke will give him more independence and a chance to take part in an activity other kids enjoy.
"Every kid deserves a bike," said his mom Candy Brown.
Candy and William Brown said they're very thankful for a nonprofit organization that provided the bike and a local bike shop that put the Amtryke together.
The bike came from AMBUCS. The organization, which has a Vermont chapter, provides the specially fitted bicycles and tricycles to children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
Amtrykes can cost $800 to $1,200. Candy and William Brown said they wouldn't have been able to afford that on their own. But AMBUCS raised the funds to provide the bike for their son, they said.
The bike was assembled at Highlander Bicycle on Benmont Avenue. Owner Peter Hall said he wanted to support a good cause. Art Haytko, who put it together, noted it's a fixed-gear drivetrain, or "fixie," meaning it can't coast. It's less likely Brown will lose control of the bike, he said, and also lets him pedal backward.
Amtrykes come in different models depending on a rider's needs. Brown now has a ProSeries 1420 tryke. Like the name implies, it has three wheels, which helps a rider who has balance issues. It has a special seat, a seat back and harness. Other models are designed so riders can pedal using their hands. And there's a slew of adaptors that can be fitted.
Candy said it's her son's second Amtryke. He had his first bike for seven years and had outgrown it.
"We didn't think they made a bike for him," Candy Brown recalled. "His physical therapist gave us a lot of help with reaching out to AMBUCS."
The old bike will be refurbished and given to another person, she said.
Brown's parents explained that it's important he ride a bike to strengthen his legs and improve his hand-eye coordination.
But it's also a way for Brown to have fun.
William Brown noted his son likes riding a bike more than going to occupational therapy, where he and a therapist practice exercise and work on similar goals.
And with his new tryke, he'll be able to ride alongside his siblings, they said.
For more information about AMBUCS, visit http://www.ambucs.org.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979.