Seniors in the Fox Valley are taking to the area’s recreation trails in rapidly growing numbers, and they aren’t even breaking a sweat.
They are passengers in bicycle-powered rickshaws being purchased for nursing facilities and nonprofits that work with the elderly or people with disabilities.
Fox Cities locations now have at least 20 rickshaws in operation. Passengers ride in front and the “pilot” pedals. If the going gets tough, a power assist is available.
Support from Community Foundation grants has helped make the purchases of the $6,500 cycles possible. Grants have included $1,000 from the Kaukauna Rotary Fund to St. Paul Elder Services, $5,000 from the Chilton Area Community Foundation to Brillion Nature Center and $4,000 from two businesses with Foundation funds to Fox Cities Greenways. The equipment is purchased in coordination with a local chapter of Cycling Without Age, an international movement based in Denmark.
Brewster Village, Outagamie County’s nursing home, has five rickshaws and an easily accessible trail that circles its grounds and extends over to the Fox Valley Technical College’s campus. Cheryl Zadrazil, a volunteer with Fox Cities Greenways, said the group has enjoyed working Brewster Village. “They have been wonderful partners,” she said. “The impact is just enormous.”
The impact is clear from the look on Doug Verhagen’s face when, as he puts it, “I feel the wind in my hair.” He says he loves getting out in nature on the trail whenever one of the staff members or volunteers who have been trained to pilot the rickshaws is available. More volunteers will make more rides available.
Others operating rickshaws include Valley Nursing Association in Neenah, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh and the Outagamie County Aging and Disability Resource Center.
Photo courtesy of Fox Cities Greenways