City of Kelowna offers new adaptive bike program

·2 min read
The program runs out of the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna.  (Courtesy of City of Kelowna - image credit)
The program runs out of the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna. (Courtesy of City of Kelowna - image credit)

The City of Kelowna has launched an adaptive bike program, providing bicycles to people with a range of abilities.

"There's a lot of really happy faces riding behind those bikes," said the city's community recreation coordinator Allie Westlund.

The program provides access to six adult-sized tricycles and two adult trailers.

According to Westlund, the tricycles are lightweight and adjustable for different heights. The two adult trailers are able to hold up to 150 pounds, and are attached to the back of a bike that is ridden by somebody else.

They are mostly being used by support workers with their clients and parents with their children.

Kelowna resident Karen St. Pierre, who's 22-year-old son Kai has down syndrome, is the inspiration behind the program.

She says that while Kai is cognitively delayed, he is very active and likes to exercise.

According to St. Pierre, some of the challenges that come with owning an adaptive bike include finding proper storage for a bike of that size, transporting the bike to and from biking locations, and figuring out where the bike can be used.

"I'm just so happy seeing it happen," she said.

Following in dad's footsteps

St. Pierre's husband, who passed away in 2014, was very involved in the biking community in Kelowna, and Kai's brother is a competitive cyclist.

"It was something that we always did as a family … maybe we won't be able to do it again as a unit of four but I don't want Kai to miss out on that opportunity," said St. Pierre.

St. Pierre said because of this program, Kai now gets to be a part of the "bicycle lifestyle" that he watched his dad enjoy.

"I'm just advocating where I see the gaps and it's nice to be able to do that and actually be heard," said St. Pierre.

The program, which runs out of the Parkinson Recreation Centre, was funded by Community Living B.C. and the Ministry of Children and Families.

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