In the Spring of 2018, PedNet, a non-profit organization aiming to provide alternative modes of transportation under safe and accessible conditions, launched the Giving Rides program for people with disabilities and the elderly in Columbia, Mo. PedNet is a transportation advocacy group in Columbia that focuses on types of transportation such as biking, walking, and riding transit as well as having trails built in Columbia. It is a free program, completely funded by donations from members and the public.
Thanks to the Giving Rides program, individuals with limited time to spend outdoors now have the opportunity to travel over dirt trails, ride up inclines and across bridges, and enjoy the positive health benefits that come with being immersed in nature.
Older adults and individuals with disabilities ride via an adapted tandem bike, called a Duet. The Duet has a standard bicycle back half and a wheelchair front half. A volunteer pilots the bike while the rider is securely buckled at the front. The Duet comes complete with seat straps for the wheelchair and electric assistance which helps the pilot to pedal up steep inclines.
Wyleta especially enjoys her weekly rides at the MKT trail and looks forward to spending time outside.
Site Manager Hadyn Bailey said, “PedNet has been a great way for Wyleta to spend time on the trails, experiencing bike riding, and connect with her community. When riding, Wyleta is smiling and laughing. We have been so grateful for the PedNet team for taking Wyleta out as often as possible as she seems to thoroughly enjoy her time on the trails. The program has been so successful that some of Wyleta’s neighbors have chosen to ride and we will be working to schedule time for them as well.”
PedNet was founded on Earth Day in 2000, and for nearly 20 years continues to advocate a healthy lifestyle for all individuals in Columbia, regardless of age or ability.