Racers ready to roll this weekend thanks to unique trike

Racers ready to roll this weekend thanks to unique trike

A unique adult tricycle that allows riders to mimic the motion of running is giving people with certain mobility issues an opportunity to take part in Ottawa Race Weekend.

The three-wheeled Alinker, a Dutch invention billed as "a radically different walking bike," is geared toward helping people with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other conditions stay active.

The bike has two wheels in front, a smaller stabilizing wheel in the rear, a seat, curved handlebars and a handbrake. There are no pedals — riders propel themselves using their feet.

"[It's] the most wonderful piece of equipment you'll ever have," Mary Bolt told CBC's Ottawa Morning.

Bolt has a degenerative joint disease. Before discovering the Alinker, her body would lock up after five to 10 minutes of walking, she said.

"It was getting very hard for me because I was getting cabin fever, and I was feeling like I didn't have the ability to do anything, and I was sort of losing hope about being able to move."

Bolt began using the Alinker last October as part of her therapy at LiquidGym in Bells Corners.

LiquidGym co-owner Karen Snyder said the Alinker gives riders something they can't get with a walker or wheelchair.

"[They can] create a cardiovascular workout as they're moving because they can get that speed," Snyder told Ottawa Morning.

About 50 riders from LiquidGym will participate in the 2K race during Ottawa Race Weekend, Snyder said. Participants have been training since October.

"For a lot who have never done an event, this is amazing," Snyder said. "When the gun goes off, and [at the] finishing line, there's going to be cheering going on. It is going to be overwhelming."

While Mary Bolt knows of no relation to her speedy Jamaican namesake, she sounds just as competitive about her chances this weekend.

"I'm going to win it," she said. "If I don't win it, I'm going to finish anyway."