Rolling with It

Photo: Shawn Green 


Riding an adaptive tricycle is not only fun — it can improve gross motor skills
and strengthen endurance for children who receive physical, occupational or speech therapy. Nathan Ogonek, PT, DPT, at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation recognized this and wanted to provide the special cycles for his young patients to use at home. For most families, however, the expense of these tricycles (rarely covered by insurance) remained a significant obstacle. 


Adaptive tricycles can help children of all abilities become more independent, one ride at a time. | Photo: Shawn Green


Cleveland Clinic’s CATALYST GRANTS pool donations to fund the brightest ideas from our caregivers to improve patient outcomes and experiences. To date, 250 grants have been awarded, representing a total of $11 million in support.

Portrait headshot of a man wearing a white shirt and plaid gray tie

Seeing everyone’s excitement has been the most rewarding thing for me. From the patients to the families to the staff who came to ‘build-a-bike day,’ this has been something that has created a spark for our entire department. That excitement has led us to think: How can we continue this work?”

– Nathan Ogonek, PT, DPT    


Dr. Ogonek was awarded a $22,588 Catalyst Grant. He created the Chance to Tryke program for patients who otherwise would be unable to obtain adaptive tricycles. Operated by hand, foot or a combination of the two, the cycles promote ongoing strengthening within an at-home structured exercise program, creating a setting where children of all abilities and backgrounds can develop the skills necessary to become more independent, one ride at a time.


Cleveland Clinic Children’s therapists filled out an application to request an adaptive tricycle for a patient in need. Applicants submitted specific dimensions to fit the patient with the appropriate equipment. They also outlined how using a tricycle would assist the patient. From there, recipients were selected at random. 


Dr. Ogonek and members of the team at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Outpatient Therapy Services hosted a “build-a-bike day” in 2022 to help patients and families build and test-ride adaptive tricycles. More than two dozen cycles were distributed. Dr. Ogonek hopes that once children outgrow the tricycles, families will donate them back for use by other patients.