Camp Directors for the United Cerebral Palsy “Cycle Without Limits” camps were horrified to find out on the morning of July 31 that their utility trailer with camp equipment, had been stolen over the weekend in Napa. The trailer was used to transport bicycles and equipment to different camps in California and Oregon.
The UCP of the North Bay has offered these life-changing camps for years to teach children with disabilities how to ride conventional two-wheeled bicycles. The five-day camp in Sonoma County is sponsored by UCP of the North Bay and Sonoma State University and the unique, customized bikes use air cylinders to keep the riders safely upright. Fortunately, the bikes themselves were being used for a camp during the weekend the trailer was stolen and so were not inside, but the organization lost a large supply of equipment and parts used to customize and maintain the bikes.
“We reported it right away but the bike mechanic had to figure out exactly what was in it and that took him a while to figure out and find out the value of it,” says Elaine McHugh, Camp Director for UCP of the North Bay. “We haven’t heard anything about any leads yet.”
Besides the monetary loss from the theft, the organization spent many hours to modify the equipment and therefore it is not easily replaceable. Nor is the equipment of much value to anybody else since it is all customized for children with disabilities and cannot be easily resold.
Most of the cycling camps are in the summer time, but the organization also sponsors one in Sonoma County in January. Since the bikes were stolen during the last camp of the summer, the theft fortunately did not impact this year’s summer camps, and the organization hopes it can replace the stolen equipment before the next camp in January.
Some of the missing items, most stored in black tubs with yellow lids, include helmets, seats with spring and back rests, specialized pedals, stems, in-line skate wheels and long board wheels and high rise handlebars, horns and bells. The trailer is a gray 14-foot closed utility trailer with the license 4MR2629. It has a side door and a back ramp and was modified with a variety of hooks to transport the bikes.
“It [the camp] really does change kids’ lives,” says McHugh. “The kids often go in one week from not being able to ride to being able to ride with their parents and families and friends and it just makes a huge difference in their lives because then they can be like other kids.”
To donate to United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay to help them recoup some of their loss, visit ucpnb.org and click on the donate link. Donors can add a note to specify that they want their donations to go to helping the organization recover their stolen equipment.