All posts by Angela Labrecque

Blue Chip Logo

2nd Quarter Blue Chip

2nd Quarter Blue Chip

The quarterly Blue Chip Report chronicles the membership development of each AMBUCS Chapter and of the organization as a whole. The data contained in the report is gathered from the chapters via the Member Additions and Member Deletions Forms.

In order to encourage a sustained level of growth, each chapter is assigned a yearly net member gain goal based on the number of members at start-of-year.

Those chapters that reach their goal at end-of-year become a Blue Chip Chapter and receive recognition at National Conference and a banner patch.  Chapters are ranked by net new members gained and the Top Ten chapters receive recognition at National Conference and a banner patch. Chapters that have achieved Blue Chip status two years in a row are called Double Chip, three years Triple Chip, four years Quad Chip; they will each receive recognition at National Conference and a banner patch.

BCA Amtryke

Amtryke 2020 Update

From Jay Laurens, Chief Executive Officer….
Coming in 2020…American Amtrykes…and More!

BCA Amtryke Telescoping FrameWhat is the status of the Amtryke prototypes being built by Bicycle Corporation of America, and when will BCA-built trykes be available for purchase?
BCA is currently working on prototypes of our ProSeries Amtrykes, the models for which we have the greatest demand. Specifically, they’re designing two yet-to-be-named models. One is essentially a hybrid of the current 1412 and 1416 and the other will blend the 1420 and 1420XL. They will be lighter than our current models and will have telescoping, modular frames for more adaptability, adjustability and portability.

The first two phases of the prototypes have been reviewed and critiqued by our Amtryke Advisory Board and multiple AEFT (Amtryke Evaluation and Fitting Training) certified therapists. It is our hope Phase 3 prototypes will be available for review in February or March of 2020, and approval for production will be granted soon thereafter.

Having said that, getting it right is more important than doing it quickly. We must ensure our new BCA Amtrykes are fun, safe, dependable and therapeutic. For that reason, our therapists will have the final say as to when BCA Amtrykes will officially go to production.
It’s also worth noting our designation for these models will likely change. The term ProSeries often causes confusion, since it implies these are high performance, competitive racing models. They are, in fact, for recreational and therapeutic use.


BCA Amtryke Chain Gobbler 2


BCA Amtryke Chain Gobbler


Which prototypes will BCA tackle next, and how long will it take to replace our entire Amtryke fleet?

The BCA team has already begun preliminary design work for our signature Amtrykes, the hand-foot operated AM Series models. Again, their focus is on adaptability, adjustability and portability. Concepts being explored include an adjustable drive shaft, a two-part modular frame, and three-piece pedal cranks of varying sizes. To date, we’ve only reviewed computer-aided designs of these models and plastic prototypes of a few components. It is premature to speculate exactly when these models will go to production, but stay tuned.

Following approval of the AM Series, BCA will move to our larger Amtrykes. The specific order in which our 1020, 1024, JT-2000, JT-2300, and TP-3000 models will be addressed has not yet been determined.

While BCA production models are being phased in, will Amtrykes from our Taiwanese manufacturer still be available?

Yes, we will continue to order our current models from Gomier until each BCA model is introduced. As the volume of trykes ordered from Gomier declines, the day could come when they are no longer willing to fill our orders. In anticipation of this remote possibility, we are maintaining a higher inventory of certain models, so we can continue to meet the demand for trykes.

AMBUCS Resource CenterWill Amtryke customer service continue to be the responsibility of the AMBUCS Resource Center?

Yes, our Amtryke Customer Service team will remain at the AMBUCS Resource Center in High Point, NC. The sole purpose of the ARC is to provide support to you, our volunteer members and chapters across the country, as you work diligently to inspire mobility and independence. The ARC is the hub of our organizational communication, not only regarding Amtrykes, but all things AMBUCS.

How about Amtryke inventory management, shipping and receiving?

We recently entered a contractual arrangement with BCA to provide our inventory management, shipping and receiving services. Shortly after January 1, 2020, our existing Amtryke inventory (trykes, accessories and parts) will be moved from High Point, NC to Summerton, SC, where BCA recently purchased a spacious warehouse. From that point on, all Amtryke orders will be shipped to you from the BCA facility. BCA’s warehouse team will be linked remotely to our Amtryke Customer Service representatives and our in-house inventory management and accounting system.

Our current incoming shipments from Gomier, our Taiwanese supplier, conveniently arrive in port in Charleston, SC, which is just an hour from BCA’s new Summerton warehouse. Maintaining all inventory – from both Gomier and BCA – in one location and filling all orders from there, simply makes good business sense. Eliminating the unnecessary step of transporting shipments to NC will save time and money.

Will there be a gap in service?

Yes. Before the inventory can be moved, we must conduct a complete physical inventory for our auditors and for BCA. The actual transition will also be labor intensive. This will necessitate that we essentially shut down our shipping operation.

In addition, in order to serve you better, we are updating both our membership database and our inventory management/accounting software. In order to make all of these changes run smoothly, the AMBUCS Resource Center will need to cease normal functions for a period of time. From January 1 – 10, while we conduct inventory, our Amtryke Customer Service team will continue to accept orders, but we will be unable to ship.

For three to five weeks, starting around January 13, the ARC will temporarily cease most functions including Amtryke ordering and shipping, National Amtryke Wish List as well as AMBUCS membership services including adding or dropping members, new chapters, dues, giving, officers and Scorecard.

Please note, since the systems will be in transition, we will also not be able to answer questions. Visit this website or amtrykestore.org for up-to-date information as we get closer.

We understand this shut down will cause frustrations as you seek to accomplish the mission early in the new year. But please keep in mind all these changes will help us serve you more efficiently – so you, in turn, can better serve your community.

Will the way we order Amtrykes eventually change?

Yes, over time and as BCA models are introduced, the way Amtrykes are ordered will change. Currently, because we receive partially assembled “bikes in a box” from Gomier in Taiwan, our Amtryke Customer Service must assist you in exchanging or “swapping out” seats/seatbacks, pedals and other accessories as necessary to meet a specific rider’s needs.

However, with BCA models, you will simply choose a base frame and then select the appropriate pedals, seat system and other components. There will be no need for exchanging parts or accessories. This transition, though exciting, will be a challenging one for everyone involved. For an indefinite period, depending on the model you’re ordering, you may have to use the “old” or “new” process. Once all BCA Amtryke models have been introduced, the process for ordering trykes will be streamlined significantly. Eventually, we hope you will be able to go to our website and “build” a virtual Amtryke using 3-D computer design technology, and then select it for purchase.

Given these changes, what is the future vision for the AMBUCS Resource Center?

Simply put, the AMBUCS Resource Center will continue to be exactly that, a resource for our membership and mission, but will no longer be a warehouse and distribution center. We hope to convert the existing warehouse into space that will help us better serve our members and mission. More exciting news on that in the months to come.

Shoulders Together,

 

Jay Laurens
Chief Executive Officer

 


BCA Amtryke Design Standards

The list below was developed collaboratively by our Amtryke Advisory Board and the Bicycle Corporation of America team. It details the universal design specifications BCA will utilize in the redesign of each Amtryke model and accessory.
  • BCA AmtrykeMaintain or reduce pricing.
  • Maximize therapeutic benefit.
  • Reduce weight of trykes and accessories.
  • Use modular two-piece frame designs, allowing for ease of transport in van/SUV/car, and potential conversion of tryke by swapping out front ends.
  • Maintain or enhance stability and durability.
  • Simplify assembly and disassembly and minimize need for tools.
  • Simplify instruction manuals and videos.
  • Simplify and standardize model naming system and serialization.
  • To the degree possible, standardize seat back systems/accessories.
  • Ensure all seat post brackets accommodate all seat posts, which accommodate all seats.
  •  Improve adaptability and adjustability.
  • Explore use of numerically calibrated frames and accessories to simplify and standardize fitting.
  • Reduce total number of Amtryke models.
  • Equip all models with standard 9/16”, 3-piece, removable pedal cranks.
  • When possible, equip models with quick release pedals and wheels.
  • Explore pedal leveler design that eliminates need for cords.
  • When possible, equip models with lightweight solid tires or puncture resistant tubes.
  • Equip all models with a simple loading brake.
  • Equip all models with simplified handlebar stem with single quick release.
  • Standardize simple flag mount system for all models.
  • Simplify and standardize rear steering kit design.
  • Equip all rear wheel drive models with factory installed band or disk brakes.
  • Equip all models with multiple braze-ons/bosses for water bottles and other accessories.
  • Ensure all models are packaged within FedEx carton oversize dimension requirements to reduce shipping costs.
  • Ensure controls for all models will mount on either side.
  • Replace chrome components with black powder coating where possible.
  • Standardize single chain rings/cranks on all geared models.
  •  Where feasible, explore use of internal rear hubs to eliminate need for derailleurs.
  • Develop trainer roller system that works equally well with hand and foot driven models.
  • Standardize mesh baskets or molded plastic cargo compartments for all applicable models.
  • Design simple system for attaching oxygen tanks, IV’s, etc.
  • Provide a greater range of safe, effective helmets – preferably with black polystyrene.

Read the first Amtryke Update published in the Winter 2018 AMBUCS Magazine and online.

Where We’re Supposed to Be

-Cheryl Freedman, Daniel’s mom

We are placed where we need to be…

Daniel and I, along with a friend and her son, were seated behind a random bunch of Ambucs at a Pittsburgh Steelers game.

We were where we were supposed to be…

Daniel forgot his “Terrible Towel” and one of the nice Ambucs named Donna Carlton-Vish loaned him hers so he could rev up the crowd in our section.

Daniel was supposed to forget his towel…

So a conversation would start.

They were where they were supposed to be…

This conversation grew into who the Ambucs are and what they do.  This led to a question from Donna, “Can Daniel ride a bike? Would he ride if he felt comfortable and secure?”  I indicated that he never felt balanced enough as he has had over eleven surgeries and procedures on his right hip.  We asked Daniel and he said wasn’t sure if he wanted to ride.  Donna continued to talk to him about the special Amtryke that would be made just for him. She asked Aimee Carter if she would be willing to fit him. Amy said, “Of course I will!”  Daniel was convinced and said he would try out the bike.

Aimee and Donna were where they were supposed to be…

A few days later, we went downtown and met up with the fine folks from AMBUCS. Aimee put Daniel on an Amtryke and, WOW – the smiles came immediately.  He rode all around the room chasing his Dad, laughing loudly.

Dad was supposed to be there… 

Wonderful things continued to happen. Suddenly we had a sponsor for the Amtryke, Danville AMBUCS. We discovered that it could be assembled and delivered on Saturday when everyone else was to receive their Amtrykes. A whole team of Ambucs, whose names we do not know, made all of this happen. We were able to pay this gift forward with a donation, allowing our benefactor to use that money to sponsor another rider.

They were all where they were supposed to be…

Daniel received an Amtryke, and a new way to get around – who knew?!

All because we were where we were supposed to be….

Note: The Winter 2019 issue of AMBUCS Magazine ended up being extremely tight and this wonderful story lost all of its great pictures. They’re added here for you to enjoy.

1st Quarter Scorecard

1st Quarter Scorecard

The quarterly Scorecard Report chronicles the goals achieved by each AMBUCS chapter. The points tallied in the report are gathered from the chapters via the Chapter Scorecard 1st Quarter (due Sept 10), Chapter Scorecard 2nd Quarter (due Dec 10), Chapter Scorecard 3rd Quarter (due March 10), and Chapter Scorecard 4th Quarter (due June 10) Forms. This is an entirely voluntary program. You can access the scorecard forms via the Forms page.

Using the Scorecard forms for yearly and quarterly planning helps keep a chapter on track for success. It also recognizes chapters who have gone above and beyond to achieve the highest levels of success.

The National President awards citations for Merit, Honor, and Superior Chapters at the National Conference each year. Each chapter scoring 350 points for the year earns Merit Chapter status and a banner medallion; 450 points earns Honor Chapter status and a banner medallion; and 550 points earns Superior Chapter status, a banner medallion and a watch for the Chapter President. A chapter can earn with Distinction status by also chartering a new chapter during the year.

AMBUCS Moves to Reject Labels

Just to the right you will see the new National AMBUCS tagline and mission statement unanimously approved by the National AMBUCS Board of Directors at the National Conference in Reno, NV, under the leadership of Past National President, Kevin Sheehan.

That’s right, as you will notice we have removed ‘disabilities’ from our tagline and mission statement.

Words matter. Sometimes we forget their power – for good or for ill. But if you’ve ever been a child on a playground, and I know you have, you know that power.

Our crisis of words is hardly a new one for an organization that serves those challenged with mobility and independence.

The AMBUCS Resource Center has a wall of bookcases full of memorabilia from our near-century of existence. A quick survey reveals frequent use of “handicapped” and “crippled.” We would never use either word today, but when the pieces were produced the words were perfectly acceptable.

Over the past few years, we began to get similar feedback from therapists, parents and other members of the community. The word “disabled” had started to become stigmatized…like every label before it.

The community has begun advocating for itself and one another as human beings, reframing descriptive words or rejecting labels altogether. This choice is highly personal, however, and a label that one person finds acceptable may be deeply offensive to someone else.

I think it is safe to say that every AMBUCS member has been touched down to their metaphorical toes by those we serve. While the word “special” has also become stigmatized, it is so true in its original context. The people we serve are all wildly different (like any group of humans), but it seems to me that conquering extreme daily challenges tends to create a type of person I admire very much. They are often determined, game, humble, kind and open.

The VERY last thing any of us would want to do is place a hurtful label on one of our friends.

The National Board and staff wondered if the word “create” was also a bit disempowering – making it seem like all the magic comes from our members and not from the determination of those who round the bases, travel ramps, power trykes or provide therapy.

So, what does National AMBUCS do with its proud mission to Create Mobility and Independence for People with Disabilities?

The AMBUCS National Board decided that no label should be placed on the population we serve and that we, as members, “inspire” more than “create.”

As previously mentioned, the National Board unanimously approved the new tagline: Inspiring Mobility & Independence.

The new easy-to-remember tagline comes with a more robust mission statement:

Inspiring people to conquer challenges related to mobility and independence, through a nationwide network of volunteer chapters, working in partnership with physical, occupational and speech therapists; by providing Amtryke adaptive trykes, scholarships for therapists and many forms of community service.

Neither change was an easy or quick decision. The National Board began actively discussing the matter in April, after they unanimously approved a similar change to the Amtryke tagline and logo suggested by the Amtryke Advisory Board in February. The new Amtryke tagline is “Adaptive Trykes for Amazing people!”

The announcement of the changes was made at the Thursday General Session at National Conference, before our keynote speaker, Shana Anderson, took the stage.

Shana spoke about her experience as mother to Reeve, who faces challenges related to Down syndrome, and about advocating for those with chromosomal disorders through a venture called Reeve’s Tees. She recounted her experience with two amazing AMBUCS chapters; one gave Reeve an Amtryke (Greenebucs) and one invited him to participate in a triathlon (Miamibucs). Shana’s piercingly open account of her experiences and her clearly genuine gratitude to our organization and others like us, captured every heart in the room.

Later, when discussing the new tagline and mission statement, Shana said, “Small language changes matter A LOT.  The change that AMBUCS made to its mission statement (dropping the ‘people with disabilities’ and focusing on what is possible) was very symbolic to me.  The point of AMBUCS is to give individuals the power to overcome challenges and NOT be a person with disabilities or limitations.  When my son is on his tryke – for that moment, he is just one of the kids, he is not ‘a kid with disabilities.’  When I see the hearts, hands and hours that go into AMBUCS each day to make mobility and independence possible for so many, I’d say that you nailed it with this new tagline and mission statement!”

We hope other people we serve have a similar overwhelmingly positive response to the change. And that you, like Shana’s audience, feel like rising to your feet and giving her statement a standing ovation.

However, we understand that the new tagline and mission statement create some hurdles for our chapters and members.

  • You will find updated AMBUCS and Amtryke logos here. You do not need to reproduce existing materials. We just ask that when it is time to replace them you use the new logos. We will be doing the same at the Resource Center.
  • It may take some time to internalize that longer mission statement. You probably already have the tagline memorized so you can start using that immediately. To begin with, you could probably easily paraphrase the mission statement since it encapsulates the organization you know so well!
  • Lastly, you are not alone if you are wondering how to talk about AMBUCS without using “disabilities” or another label to describe the population we serve. It will probably be a slow burn. We suggest you think in terms of challenges faced and overcome rather than labels, as I have tried to do in this document. “People who face challenges” or “…challenges related to…” Or simply let mobility and independence stand alone. Our ear is trained to listen for the “for” but I think you will find most people will understand intuitively that we inspire mobility and independence…for people who are challenged with those issues.

I hope you are as proud as I am of this new AMBUCS era. Maybe this change will serve as an example to other organizations and we will find in years to come that we were at the forefront of an important movement to remove labels and celebrate not only the human dignity but also the uncommonly amazing qualities of those we serve.

Today, my friend, is a GREAT DAY to be an Ambuc!

Sincerely,

 

 

Randy Cloud
AMBUCS National President

Amtryke Catalogue

The digital version of the Amtryke Catalogue may be found here.

If you need a hard copy, the Amtryke catalogues are available for the cost to ship. To order, contact Maria 800-838-1845 x116 or mariaa@ambucs.org.

See our full line up of Adaptive Tricycles for people from age 2 to 102! With our fleet of 15 trykes and hundreds of accessories – nearly everyone can be a successful rider. Our trykes can be powered by the feet, the hands or both feet and hands together – depending on the rider’s ability and therapeutic goals.

ProCert Achieved!

We are so excited to announce that our Amtryke Evaluation and Fitting Training (AEFT) for Therapists course has been approved by ProCert.

The Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) developed ProCert as a comprehensive continuing competence activity certification program, as directed by the 53 U.S. physical therapy licensing boards. FSBPT uses the Standards for Continuing Competence Activities to evaluate the content of continuing competence activities for purposes of awarding CCU to physical therapists.

At the time of this writing, 34 states accept ProCert. Which means if a PT who lives in Delaware takes AEFT in Arizona, Delaware will recognize the CCU as valid. As long as your state is listed and you are a licensed physical therapist, the CCU are certified. FSBPT is actively working with states not already on their list and we hope one day soon that it will truly be a nationwide program.

If we hold AEFT in a state not covered by ProCert we will seek certification from that state’s PT Board and, of course, we will seek certification from the Occupational Therapy Board for the state where the training is held.

Please visit this page for more information about AEFT! We have already completed one course that has been retroactively approved and have another scheduled for January in Lexington, KY.

Thank you Ashley Schilling, PT – Music City Trykes President and Amtryke Therapist Training Coordinator – for taking on the immense amount work, research, follow up, coordination and general logistical heartburn this project has caused! ProCert Achieved. 🙂

Thanks, so much, to all our fabulous ProCert-certified AEFT Trainers too! Sue Haywood (PT), Ashley Schilling (PT), Aaron Stevens (OT), Kristina Bouley (OT), Marie MacLeod (PT), Christine Lysaght (PT), Denise Netteberg (PT), Emi Yukawa (PT), Aimee Carter (PT), Tami Forwood-Tubell (PT), Reva Reid (OT) and Joyce Peet (OT).

Gold Wing Touring Assn Partners with AMBUCS

High Point, NC – September 7, 2018 – National AMBUCS is honored to partner with the Gold Wing Touring Association (GWTA), as the administration’s special emphasis, to provide Amtryke therapeutic tricycles for children and Veterans who are unable to safely ride a traditional bicycle.

GWTA is an international not-for-profit social organization owned and operated by its membership. Its motorcycle chapters provide ample opportunities for long and short rides, monthly meetings, state and regional events and the annual Gold Rush rally. GWTA encourages good riding habits, involvement in civic and charitable affairs and the projection of a positive motorcycling image to the general public.

Judith Schaefer, executive director of Gold Wing Touring Association, Inc. said, “It gives me great joy to announce AMBUCS as this administration’s special emphasis. I was introduced to AMBUCS by our Illinois Chapter H and fell in love with the organization and its goals. What a great fit to pair our bikes and trikes with the AMBUCS trykes, a worthwhile charity the GWTA members and chapters can support wholeheartedly.”

The two organizations both have chapters based all over the United States. Gold Wing Touring Assn. invites AMBUCS chapter members to find their nearest Gold Wing Touring Chapter by visiting here and clicking on the state. National AMBUCS invites Gold Wing Touring chapter members to find their nearest AMBUCS chapter by visiting here and typing in the state.

National AMBUCS, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides over 3,000 free therapeutic tricycles to children who face barriers to exercise and to the simple fun and freedom of riding a bike every year. AMBUCS believes every kid deserves a bike.

National AMBUCS also provides free adaptive bikes to our nation’s heroes through its Veterans Initiative Program (VIP), a nationwide grassroots movement that offers disabled Veterans rehabilitative, therapeutic and wholelife health opportunities. Over 600 Amtrykes have been gifted to Veterans or VHA facilities in the last seven years. Many Veterans who bravely fought to protect our country now face life changing challenges. AMBUCS believes these Veterans should have every opportunity to engage in the active lifestyle they enjoyed prior to their service.

Amtryke, LLC is a fully-owned subsidiary of AMBUCS. As charity that owns an adaptive bike company, the priority isn’t profit but rather the life-changing impact of the product and program. Surveyed riders (or parents/guardians) consistently report improved fitness and cardiovascular function, an enhanced mental and emotional state, increased pain management and range of motion.

The fifteen Amtryke models serve as a gateway into recreation, fitness, positive peer interaction and fun. The foot, hand or foot and hand-powered trykes along with various adaptations, meet the rider’s unique set of needs, providing myriad solutions for a spectrum of diagnoses.

Jay Laurens, executive director of National AMBUCS said, “Thanks to partners like the Gold Wing Touring Association, the number of riders benefitting from the quality of life changes provided by the Amtryke steadily increase. There’s no greater feeling than helping children ride for the first time and our nation’s heroes return to an active lifestyle.”

Aside from funding assistance, AMBUCS chapters are often also looking for volunteers to help build bikes and to help put on other events, including the best ones of all – bike giveaways!

# # #
Founded in 1922, National AMBUCS, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization consisting of a diverse group of men and women dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities. That mission is fulfilled by providing Amtryke therapeutic tricycles to individuals who are unable to operate traditional bikes, awarding scholarships
to therapists and performing various other forms of community service. Currently, there are more than 5,000 members in over 158 chapters in more than 35 states.

Printable Press Release

Gold Wing Touring Association contact:
Judith Schaefer, Executive Director
exec.director@gwta.org ● 800-960-4982 (GWTA)

ReCycle Program Extends Chapter Impact

– Beth Smith and Ashley Schilling, Music City Trykes AMBUCS (Nashville, TN)
Beth Smith

What happens to an Amtryke when a child outgrows it? What about when a child has progressed to riding a typical two-wheel bicycle? Or when he or she is simply not riding it anymore?  As any chapter that participates in the Amtyrke program knows, these situations are inevitable. That’s why Music City Trykes, the Middle Tennessee Chapter of National AMBUCS, began “ReCycling.”

Our ReCycle Program is run by a subcommittee of Music City Trykes (MCT) members. The chair of the committee serves as a liaison between community therapists, families and the chapter. The committee helps coordinate volunteers to assist with Amtryke pickup, cleanup, preparation and fitting the next rider.

Upon receiving any Amtryke from MCT, families are provided info on the ReCycle Program, and every tryke receives a commercial grade sticker to remind families to contact MCT when they are done with it. When they are ready, families reach out to the chapter via email, phone, through their therapist, or social media. The committee helps coordinate pickup.

Once the tryke is received, it is evaluated to determine damage, missing parts, and necessary repairs. This assessment, in combination with length of ownership, is used to calculate the depreciated value and the “ReCycle credit.” (We use a formula provided to us by an accountant who deals specifically with equipment depreciation.)

Depreciated Value=InitialValue-[# months of ownership*((Initial Value*.7)/60)]

We then multiply the depreciated value by a percentage factor based on the tryke’s condition to determine the family’s ReCycle credit.  When the credit is determined, families then have the option to raise the difference in the cost of a new Amtryke and the ReCycle credit or to be added to our chapter Wish List for funding support.

We use the ReCycle credit as an incentive to encourage good maintenance and overall care of the trykes. With a consistent 60-70 rider Wish List, it is our hope that an Amtryke that is not ridden (for any reason) is never left to collect dust or rust rather than being put to use!

Once we’ve secured the Amtryke (or scheduled a pick-up), the chapter secretary then determines who is next up on the Wish List in need of that particular frame.  We then confirm the family’s interest in a ReCycle versus waiting for a brand new Amtryke. Next, a list of parts and accessories needed for the next rider is compiled and ordered.

In the interim, the recycled tryke receives a heavy dose of elbow grease to bring back that bright red and chrome shine. Most of the time, the Amtrykes look so good when fully refurbished that people assume they are brand new. In the event that a tryke comes back to us in poor shape, we “scrap it” for usable parts to be put to use by our “fleet” in action and those that are yet to be given out.

When the needed adaptive accessories are added or changed out, and the safety check is complete, a therapist chapter member or therapist volunteer meets up with the family to do a fitting. If one of our large giveaway events is coming up, we will often do the fitting there.

This process has evolved over the years and we have faced some challenges. ReCycled Amtrykes “in waiting” have to be stored somewhere in the transitional period between riders.  For us, that has meant the trunk of a car, a warehouse, a closet, a workplace, and even a chapter member’s kitchen! When families cannot transport a tryke, chapter members have to go pick them up.

Initially, the requests to ReCycle trickled in. However, we now have a steady stream, averaging with 2-4 per month. These calls and emails do not always occur in the weeks before a large giveaway event (which would be the most convenient). What this means is more individual fittings for new riders and lots of logistics gymnastics. This can be a drain on chapter members so we do our best to spread the love and request new volunteers for these duties each month.

The most exciting development within our ReCycle program is yet to come! This summer, we will hold our first ReCycle Roundup! Families and volunteers will be invited to bring pending ReCycles to us at a park or school. If needed, trained therapist evaluators will assess each current rider for his or her new Amtryke while other volunteers assist families with a tryke wash and tune up. The ReCycle committee will then assess the bike and determine needed repairs or guide volunteers for scrapping parts. If the condition of the incoming Amtryke is known to be excellent, and it fits the needs of a child on the Wish List, it will roll right back out that day with a new rider. This will allow our current riders and their families to come full circle and serve as the “next link” in the Amtryke chain. Once the available ReCycles are rounded up, it will be much easier to determine what to order to accessorize the trykes specifically or the next riders at the upcoming large giveaway event.

Since its official start in 2016, the MCT ReCycle Program has brought a refreshened set of wheels to more than 20 children on our Wish List. A handful of our riders are on his or her third Amtryke, and a handful of our Amtrykes have had three different riders! We love telling our sponsors about this program. To us, it means more kids riding with shorter wait times and less funds to be raised. To them, it means their donated dollars go further. In the land of charitable causes, “sustainability” can be a major selling point for potential and return donors.

We know that there are no two identical AMBUCS chapters or Amtryke programs. However, we hope you’ll be able to take a few ideas from this post to start or strengthen your ReCycle program.

Best of luck and shoulders together!

Beth Smith and Ashley Schilling
ReCycle Chair and President
Music City Trykes Chapter of National AMBUCS