Who doesn’t love biking the trails on a sunny day? Even more so when all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the trip. Two residents from Kingston Residence Assisted Living recently had the opportunity to do so through the Jorgensen YMCA Trail Buddy Program.
A special bicycle called The Duet made in the Netherlands, has a wheelchair set at the front of the bike. At a cost of $7,000, it is salty, but the experience is priceless. 90-year-old Ruth Marquart loved her ride. “I expected it to be a rougher ride,” she stated. “But it was a very solid chair and I felt perfectly safe.”
15 volunteers from the YMCA have been through a five-hour training program to assist in the Trail Buddy Program. A typical ride lasts for approximately 30 minutes starting at the YMCA then traveling around the lake in Kekionga Shores. They bike as a team; the Pedal Buddy with the rider and a Safety Buddy, whose job is to ride in front, watching for traffic, obstructions in the path, traffic signs, etc. The rider is strapped into the cushioned chair and wears a helmet for safety. Chris Welling and Todd Hammond volunteered for the Kingston ride. When asked why they volunteer their time, Chris answered, “the joy of cycling outdoors” and Todd chimed in to finish with, “and sharing it with others!”
The program accepts riders from ages 2 to 99+ and weight ranges from 20 to 275 lbs. They recently had a married couple in their late 80s. The wife was an avid biker until an accident last summer curtailed this favorite activity. Kingston Resident Pat Temple, 81 years young, reminisced about riding bikes with her four daughters, including tandems, when they visited Pokagon and Chain of Lakes state parks.
The YMCA is piloting the program in hopes to someday add bikes to their other locations. Director of Adaptive Services Lydia Morris encourages people to sign up to ride on their website at goo.gl/G8Vw4b. For more information, or to volunteer, please contact her at (260) 755-4961.
As for Kingston Residence Assisted Living, there is no doubt we will return. When Ruth was asked would she do the Trail Buddy ride again she responded, “It was wonderful, I would do it again in a minute.” And Pat enthusiastically echoed her sentiments.
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