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Cycling Without Age makes bike rides possible for seniors and those with mobility issues

Four specially designed bikes that cost about $60,000 collectively are available to take seniors and those with mobility barriers on rides around Thompson.

A program that makes it possible for seniors and those with mobility issues to enjoy bicycle rides around Thompson held its official launch on July 27 at the Heritage North Museum.

A joint effort of the Thompson Seniors Community Resource Council and the Thompson chapter of Cycling Without Age, the event introduced the program by showing off and giving demonstrations of their fleet of bikes.

A self-proclaimed senior herself, Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook even got on a bike and went for a spin at the launch. 

These four specially designed, unique and very pricey bicycles were manufactured in Denmark and allow seniors and/or persons with disabilities to go biking assisted by a trained bike pilot.. Two of the bikes allow for wheelchairs to be driven onto them, another is a side by side style and the fourth is a rickshaw-style bike. 

Penny Byer, co-ordinator of Cycling Without Age in Thompson says they won’t turn anyone away but the purpose is for “people who are mainly housebound to have a chance to feel the wind in their hair.”

Several organizations have taken part in the program including the Northern Spirit Manor, Juniper Centre and the Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre and the reviews so far are all five stars.  James Goble* with the Juniper Centre says “We are honoured to be a part of this program, the joy and freedom that these bikes provide is priceless.”  

 Kendra Hanson, activity worker at Northern Spirit Manor couldn’t agree more and says the elders who live at the NSM have been feeling especially cooped up since the start of the COVID pandemic and are now enjoying the bike rides. “Many haven’t been on a bike in over 30 years. They get the sun on their face, the wind in their face and experience a real bike ride.”

“It was great fun, I can’t wait to do it again right away,” was Doug Funkner’s comment after having had a turn on the bike.  Funkner said he hadn’t been on a bike in some years, since moving into NSM and was impressed with the bike pathways that the city has built around town.

The purchase of these bikes which cost approximately $14 000 each, was made possible by a grant from the Canada Healthy Communities Funding Agreement through the Community Foundations of Canada.

Byer says anyone wanting rides can attend the Thompson Regional Community Centre on Tuesdays between 1-7 pm or the Thompson Citizen on Commercial Place Fridays between 1-7 pm.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are reserved for Northern Spirit Manor, Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre and Juniper Centre.

* The original version of this article misspelled James Goble's name as James Gogol. The Thompson Citizen apologizes for the error.