July 17th, 2024

Bike Medicine Hat launching ‘trishaw’ ride program for seniors

By KENDALL KING on October 6, 2022.

Bike Medicine Hat's new trishaw program provides seniors all the joy of a bicycle ride without any exertion or safety concerns.--SUBMITTED PHOTO


A local cycling advocacy group is working to expand biking accessibility for Hatters of all ages with its new trishaw program, expected to launch next spring.

Created and operated by Bike Medicine Hat, the program allows seniors, particularly those in care facilities, to enjoy the experience of cycling without exertion through use of a bicycle-powered rickshaw, called a ‘trishaw.’

“It’s a program where you have volunteer pilots drive a specially-designed trishaw and take seniors for a ride,” Bike Medicine Hat chair Carter Gramlich told the News. “So (the seniors) are not pedalling. They’re not sitting on a bike seat. They just go for a nice cruise.”

Gramlich says Bike Medicine Hat was made aware of the need of such a program earlier this year through engagement with community members.

The program became possible after the group became a chapter of international organization Cycling Without Age – which supplies trishaws – and received funding by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta and Pembina Pipelines for the purchase of three total.

Delays in shipping pushed back the launch of the program, however Gramlich says all trishaws are now assembled and have completed safety checks and are expected to be in the community by next spring.

While Bike Medicine Hat members are still developing the parameters of the program – including rider eligibility requirements and potential routes and schedules – they have determined the trishaws will be based out of two local care facilities, Cypress View Foundation and Masterpiece Southland Meadows.

“This concept allows people that are living in care facilities to kind of get out and go for a ride and, like the expression says, feel the wind in their hair,” said Gramlich. “It (allows them) to experience something different.

“We’re going to be doing some trials to make sure that we’ve covered all the bases and then hopefully the set-up will be a little bit bigger starting next year.”

Gramlich encourages anyone interested in being involved with the program to connect with Bike Medicine Hat via Facebook, particularly those interested in volunteering as a trishaw driver.

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