The origin of the adapted bicycling program had its genesis in the research of Dr. Richard E. Klein at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Richard retired from his academic career at the University of Illinois in 1998. In 1999, Richard and his wife Marjorie have formed what is called an S-Corporation under United States and Illinois law. Rainbow Trainers, Inc., the name of the corporation — is an Illinois for-profit corporation. The name “Rainbow” was selected because of Richard’s belief that if one had a handful of bikes of varying geometries in a play area, ranging from benign and gradually up to being conventional in form – and colored according to rainbow colors to indicate level of dynamics, that the children exposed to these bikes, in the colors of the rainbow, would initiate through exploration and discovery how to ride bikes. In truth, nobody is really taught how to ride a bike, but rather most discover how to ride a bike. It is an “Ahha” experience. Our role is in creating and adjusting that environment to permit children to discover on their own how to ride a bike.
People often are puzzled over the meaning and origin of the name Rainbow Trainers, Inc. As a point of explanation, the corporation’s roots stem from the research of Dr. Richard E. Klein, President and Founder. Klein is an emeritus faculty member of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign IL. In his three decades of teaching and research (1968-1998), Klein became interested in bicycle dynamics — meaning the study using mathematics as to what causes a bicycle to be stable and how a bicycle essentially “works.” This activity then lead Klein into the area of studying how children learn to ride a bike.
Klein’s research soon uncovered the fact that when children attempt to learn or master bike riding, many children go through a set of predictable steps or phases. Klein, upon applying engineering principles, sought to improve and shorten the process by creating adapted or special benign bikes — bikes suitable to aid the learning process. The name or concept of the “Rainbow” came about because Klein realized that kids aren’t taught how to ride, but rather they discover how to ride. Klein hypothesized that if one had an array of different bikes, then thought of as representing the colors of the rainbow, that children in the process of play would indeed master bike riding, as each level of the rainbow represented a challenge level. Moreover, once the children master one level, their mastery then facilitates their success at the next level of challenge. In a nut shell, that is the origin of the name, “Rainbow Trainers.”
At Rainbow Trainers we believe that children can discover how to ride a bike if the proper environment is made available. As the child is successful, this success will bring about improvement in motor skills as well as confidence to try yet another bike, another bike in the progression of colors. This was and still is our ultimate dream, and we feel that we have made gigantic strides towards the achievement of that dream.