More than 75 children and adults with physical disabilities were introduced to adaptive bicycling during Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s annual Bikes for the Rest of Us event on Saturday.
Each participant was paired with a therapist to determine the necessary adaptations that will enable them to pedal alongside their able-bodied friends.
“This event helps Mary Free Bed promote health and wellness beyond rehabilitation,” said Maria Besta, manager of Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program.
Bikes for the Rest of Us has taken place for more than 25 years. Thanks to a donation from the Mary Free Bed Guild, eligible participants receive funding to help offset the cost of adapted bikes and equipment.
More than 70 volunteers, including Mary Free Bed therapists, nurses and staff members, and community volunteers donated their time and talents to help make the event a success.
“Young kids were zooming around the area in adapted trikes, young adults were cautiously trying out a bike for the first time, older stroke patients were hopeful as they adapted to a new bike since their life-altering event, and dads and kids were tentatively exploring what it’s like to ride an adapted tandem bike,” said volunteer Shelley Mishler. “They were so happy.”
Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports program is one of the largest in the United States. In 2016, about 650 adults and children participated on a team or in a class or clinic. This year, WAS has 15 teams and is offering six classes and 10 clinics. In addition to Bikes for the Rest of Us, WAS also hosts five annual events, including the 5/3 Riverbank Run 25k wheelchair and handcycle races.
Local media, including WZZM and Fox 17, covered the Bikes for the Rest of Us event.