Think you Can't Ride? Think Again. This Organization Has a Bike for You
Robert Schmitz experiences the joy of riding with his new Amtryke bike.
The “little organization that could,” AMBUCS changes the lives of those with different abilities.
The act of riding a bike is one of the simplest joys in life, an exhilaration that takes all of us back to our childhoods. Feeling the wind in your hair as you breeze down the road toward the horizon is something that connects us all to our first explorations of the world around us.
But the thing about bicycles is that they are not one size fits all. Those with mobility issues, whether children with different abilites or adults who have been injured, can find it nearly impossible to share in the joys of cycling. Enter AMBUCS.
Chartered in 1941 as American Business Clubs, AMBUCS has dedicated its existence to helping those with different abilities. On the national level, a big part of fulfilling that mission comes from creating specialized bikes through their Amtryke program.
“We currently have 15 models with all kinds of adaptations so that a patients’ therapist can tell us what their needs are,” said Kevin Sheehan, the Savannah representative for AMBUCS. Starting from base models boasting hand cranks, foot cranks and a combination of both, the Amtryke program can custom tailor a tryke to give anyone a chance to share in the joys of cycling.
Here in Savannah, AMBUCS’ mission also encompasses a bowling league that meets every Saturday, giving participants of all kinds a chance to share in camaraderie and fun competition. “We have three bowlers who have been coming out for our league for over 40 years, two of whom hardly ever miss a Saturday,” said Sheehan.
AMBUCS also sponsors a scholarship fund for students pursuing careers as occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists. This past year, the Savannah chapter gave away $18,500 in scholarships to students attending universities in South Carolina and Georgia, while the national chapter has given away more than $9 million since 1955.
Naturally, it takes a community to make our local AMBUCS chapter the force for powerful change that it is. Beyond the group of 20 generous souls who make up the Savannah chapter, “We strongly value our relationship with the business community,” said Sheehan, citing companies such as Celia Dunn and All Specialty Systems who have generously donated to AMBUCS. “Without them, we would not be successful.”
How You Can Help While Sheehan serves as the “face” of AMBUCS, he points to the volunteers surrounding him as the real miracle workers, running everything from their bike program to their bowling league. “Without them, this doesn’t happen,” he said. “We have about 20 people involved locally, and we’re always looking for members.” In addition to volunteers, AMBUCS always welcomes your charitable donations to help offset the costs involved with changing lives. You’ll find ways to donate time and money (or both) on their Facebook page or at savannahambucs.com.