The non-profit Recreation Adaptive Society offered up a unique opportunity for the community to try out accessible bikes and other recreational equipment this weekend at Clover Point in Victoria.
The Adaptive Bike Fest aimed to show how accessible getting outdoors can be, even for those with limited mobility. This event allows for people, able or not, to try out the often hard-to-find accessible equipment for free before committing to an expensive purchase.
Tanelle Bolt is the founder of the Recreations Adaptive Society. Bolt suffered a free jumping accident off an 18 metre (60 foot) bridge back in 2015. When she made impact with the water, she fractured her T6 vertebra and became a paraplegic.
Bolt didn’t realize how many barriers there would be for her to get back into the outdoors.
“There’s no opportunity before you have to go spend sometimes $10,000 on one piece of adaptive equipment before buying it. There is nowhere to try it,” she said.
Bolt knows that there is a lot of awareness work to be done. Even awareness to those that are able bodied are part of her campaign.
“You’re temporarily able bodied,” she noted. “You’re either aging with a disability or aging into a disability and there is not discrimination with disability. It can impact anybody at any time.”
Providing an inventory of adapted outdoor recreation equipment with low-cost rental fees is a big part of what Recreation Adaptive Society offers.
Chris Henry is one of those individuals taking advantage of the program. Although only temporarily injured, Henry is grateful for the ability to roll around town.
“Volunteering with these guys has been great. I think there is so much more opportunity for Victoria and cities to start creating more access for people who need an option,” he said.
For those wanting to rent accessible equipment or donate to the society, you can do so by logging on to the society’s website.