By Roger Lohr – The Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports organization’s new Adaptive Mountain Bike Program, which is one of the first in New England offers special dates for outings in various location and limited adaptive mountain bikes to use. All abilities are welcome and participants may bring their own equipment as well.
The program is scheduled at multiple locations with outings and events planned for all level mountain bikers who have their own equipment. In addition, four adaptive mountain bikes are available for participants on a first-come, reservations-based system.
These highly adjustable bikes are ideal for individuals with spinal cord injuries, amputations or limb differences, or balance and motor skill disabilities. Vermont Adaptive purchased the bikes last summer with funding from the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs grant and Phil Black, owner of Lookout Tavern who donated monies for Vermont Adaptive to purchase a trailer for hauling the bikes to various locations statewide.
“Participants gain a sense of accomplishment when reaching the top of the mountain and that is great to see,” said Kelly Walsh, Vermont Adaptive program coordinator, who is responsible for Vermont Adaptive’s veterans programs.
For 2017, the US Dept of Veterans Affairs again awarded Vermont Adaptive grant monies to help purchase 10 two-wheeled mountain bikes and 10 bicycles for use on recreation paths. These bikes will be added to the existing fleet, allowing participants who don’t need to use an adaptive bike to get outside, exercise and socialize with other veterans, to enjoy Vermont alongside their peers with physical disabilities.
The custom hand cycles are crafted specifically for rocky terrain with unique hand cycles that are designed for adaptive riders to cruise down the trails smoothly.
There is open enrollment for free to the mountain bike program this summer. Although Vermont Adaptive will have a limited number of adaptive mountain bikes for use, all adaptive riders are encouraged to bring their own bikes and participate in any of the summer events. Reservations are required for programming and equipment use.
This program is limited to Vermont but you can look for similar programs in other regions across the country by contacting organizations that resemble Vermont Adaptive.
This year’s Killington Resort Adaptive Event for Independent Riders will also have bike demos “encouraging adaptive awareness for proper use of hand cycles,” said Olivia Joseph, Vermont Adaptive program coordinator and organizer of the adaptive mountain bike program.
The program is seeking volunteers who have an interest in mountain biking and for further info, contact Olivia Joseph at [email protected].