The town of Natick on Saturday held its first accessible cycling event on the Cochituate Rail Trail, providing the gear and assistance to help people of all abilities use the recreational resource in a way some had never done before.
Friends of Natick Trails (FONT) volunteers and those from non-profit All Out Adventures, operating in or near the Mechanic Street parking lot, teamed to fit those with mobility challenges for any of a couple dozen specialized trikes. Some featured two seats one behind the other, and some boasted different handlebar configurations.
Volunteers, family and friends rode alongside those using the accessible and adaptive equipment, or rode with them to provide additional support.
“I worked up a bigger sweat doing this than I do on my own bike,” one volunteer said, after assisting a rider up and down the trail that links Natick and Framingham.
Another volunteer described the event as “literally one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.”
The joy on the faces of those young and old using the cycles said it all. “I’m so excited, I haven’t ridden a bike in so long,” said one rail trail regular as she shifted from her wheelchair to an adaptive trike.
Natick marketed the event as a trial as it explores establishing an accessible/adaptive cycling program. Partnering with All Out Adventures allowed the town to offer participants an opportunity to try multiple models. These vehicles don’t come cheap, starting in the $2,000s and going way up.
Organizers deemed the event a great success, with some 25 people taking advantage of the opportunity to try different vehicles and cruise the rail trail alongside those running, walking, and riding bicycles. Most registered in advance, while others just showed up.
Numerous participants asked about when the next event would be. So that was a great sign…